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NATO country arrests alleged ‘Russian spy’

Oslo believes that a Brazilian researcher who arrived in Norway last year is a Russia “deep-cover agent”

Norway’s security service (PST) has arrested a suspected “Russian spy,” the country’s state broadcaster NRK reported on Tuesday. The man in question is a Brazilian researcher working in the northern Norwegian town of Tromso. However, the officials believe he is a “deep-cover agent” living under a fake identity, the media outlet said.

The PST itself only confirmed an “arrest” in Tromso on Twitter and said it had launched a probe into “illegal intelligence” activities that “may damage fundamental national interests” of Norway, as well as the “security and interests of other nations.” 

According to NRK, the suspect was arrested on his way to work on Monday. Although his identity has not been revealed, the broadcaster described him as a man in his 30s or 40s, who arrived in Norway in the autumn of 2021 for research purposes and has since been working at Tromso University. 

“We have asked a Brazilian researcher at the University of Tromso to be expelled from Norway because we believe he represents a threat to fundamental national interests,” a PST official, Hedvig Moe, told NRK, adding that the security services believe he had built an information “network” and collected data about Norwegian policies in the “northern region.”

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Although such information itself might not be much of a threat to Norway’s security, the PST is worried it could be “misused by Russia,” Moe said, adding that her agency had cooperated with the security services of other nations in the case. Moscow has not commented on the matter. 

According to Norwegian Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl, the suspect is due to be deported and his resident permit will be revoked. He has now been placed in custody for up to four weeks while his case is being heard, the NRK reported. The researcher’s lawyer told the broadcaster that his client does not even understand why the charges were brought against him. The defense team also “received very little specific information on the case so far,” the lawyer added. 

The development comes as relations between Russia and Western nations are at one of their lowest points in history due to the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev. Norway, which is a NATO member, has arrested nearly a dozen Russian nationals over suspected espionage activities in recent weeks. 

Four Russians were detained in central Norway last week for taking photos of facilities covered by the national photo ban. All of them were subsequently released. Over the weekend, two more Russians were apprehended for photographing military installations in northern Norway.  

Last week, the son of the former boss of state-owned Russian Railways was detained and accused of illegally flying drones from his yacht in violation of the country’s Sanctions Act.

https://ift.tt/4RI8nbD 25, 2022 at 11:45PM
from RT – Daily news

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