Norwegian police arrest suspected Russian spy in Arctic town

The man, who worked as a scientist at the University of Tromso, was posing as a Brazilian citizen

Tromso, Norway. A suspected Russian spy who worked as a scientist at the University of Tromso has been arrested. Pixabay
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Norwegian police arrested a suspected Russian spy in an Arctic town on Monday.

The man, who worked as a scientist at the University of Tromso, was posing as a Brazilian citizen but police believe his real identity to be Russian, public broadcaster NRK reported on Tuesday.

He had been in Norway since 2021 and was believed by the PST, the Norwegian Police Security Service, to have sought to establish himself in the country under a false identity while secretly working for Russian intelligence.

He was arrested in Tromso.

The man represents a “threat to fundamental national interests” and should be expelled from Norway, deputy PST chief Hedvig Moe told the broadcaster.

Norway, which shares a border with Russia and is a member of Nato, has arrested several Russian nationals suspected of illegally flying drones or taking pictures in restricted areas in separate incidents this month.

On Monday, police announced two more people — bringing the total to nine in recent weeks — had been arrested on suspicion of taking photographs of a restricted military installation.

Prosecutor Steffen Ravnasen told Norwegian broadcaster NRK the Russian citizens — a man and a woman in their 30s — were arrested on Saturday near Bjerkvik, which houses a Norwegian Armed Forces military facility and barracks.

Mr Ravnasen said the pair, who were in a car with Russian number plates, were suspected of illegally taking photos.

The case has been referred to the PST, which handles similar cases involving Russians allegedly taking photos or flying drones illegally.

Last week, Norwegian police announced the arrest of a Russian national — who is the son of a close confidant of President Vladimir Putin — accusing him of illegally flying a drone in the Svalbard archipelago.

Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store has accused “foreign intelligence” services of being behind a recent slew of “unacceptable” drone flights in the country, indirectly pointing the finger at Russia.

“It is obviously unacceptable for foreign intelligence to fly drones over Norwegian airports,” he told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.

European nations have heightened security around key energy, internet and power infrastructure following last month’s underwater explosions that ruptured two natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea that were built to deliver Russian gas to Germany.

The damaged Nord Stream pipelines off Sweden and Denmark discharged huge amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the air.

Updated: October 25, 2022, 1:29 PM