Minsk employee of Russia’s NTV may be involved in KGB arrest of Ukraine journo

Vasil Syamashka

Belarusian journalist Vasil Syamashka might have been involved in the arrest of Ukrainian journalist Pavel Sharoiko, whom the Belarusian authorities charged with espionage.

Earlier, Dmitry Tymchuk, a Ukrainian MP and coordinator of the Information Resistance group, said that the arrest was based on a forged document.

“Shortly before the arrest, an employee of the state-run Russian TV station NTV asked Sharoiko to meet with him, he states with reference to his own sources. The Russian journalist allegedly tried to give him ‘secret documents’ on Russia’s using the territory of Belarus for preparing an attack on Ukraine. Knowing that it was a provocation, Sharoiko refused to take the documents. On the way home, he was arrested by the Belarusian KGB,” he said.

“We have become aware of the Ukrainian journalist [Pavel Sharoiko] being detained immediately after his meeting with the citizen of Belarus Vasil Syamashka. Since the summer of 2017, the latter has been working as a journalist for the Russian TV station NTV office in Belarus. Vasil is far from being an ordinary person; many colleagues remember his controversial acts, e.g. an attempt to register his cat as a presidential candidate in 2015 or a trip to the occupied part of Donbas. He did not hesitate to show a photo of his car, in which he drove the terrorists of the so-called Donetsk republic and their weapons. Earlier, in 2013, Syamashka did not conceal the fact of his being close to the head of a department of the presidential Operational and Analytical Center,” Belpravda reports.

Belsat.eu contacted Vasil Syamashka, but he refused to speak on the subject.

“Ask Belarusian and Ukrainian media who wrote about me,” Syamashka said. When asked whether he knew Sharoiko personally, he declined to comment.

Previously, the Belarusian journalist worked for the news agency BelaPAN, then coontributed to Russia’s Sputnik. After the annexation of Crimea, Syamashka made several reports from the both sides of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict in Donbas.

UA: Ukrainian Radio employee Pavlo Sharoiko was arrested in Minsk in late October.

According to the KGB spokesman Dzmitry Pabyarzhyn, Sharoiko, an officer of Ukraine’s military intelligence, worked undercover as a radio correspondent and created a spy network of the citizens of Belarus. Sharoiko’s work was coordinated by Ihor Skvortsov, who ‘acted under the guise of the Ukrainian embassy counselor in Belarus’, Pabyarzhyn said. Skvortsov was declared persona non grata and expelled from Belarus.

In late November, Sharoiko was accused of espionage. Ukrainian government agencies have repeatedly refuted the claim by the KGB of the alleged involvement of Pavlo Sharoiko in espionage and his being an intelligence officer.