Norway’s Foreign Ministry has expelled a Russian diplomat on accusations of spying for Russia, officials said. (Image above: illustration, Oslo)
“We have today informed the Russian ambassador that one of his employees is unwanted in Norway and has been asked to leave the country. This is because the person in question has performed actions that are not compatible with his role and status as a diplomat,” Siri R. Svendsen told The Associated Press.
It was unclear whether the expelled diplomat was the Russian intelligence officer that Norwegian authorities said was meeting with the suspected spy in an Oslo restaurant when he was arrested on Saturday on August 15.
The Russian civil servant in question met with a man who has not been officially identified beyond that he is a Norwegian national in his 50s who was born abroad. However, Norwegian broadcaster NRK identified him as Harsharn Singh Tathgar.
The employer of a person suspected in spying for Russia said that he was heading an industry project on 3D printing and had no security clearance and didn’t work on projects for the defense industry, the Norwegian Armed Forces or other governmental agencies.
Norway-based DNV GL, a major global classification society for ships, said in a statement the man had not had any line management responsibilities for a number of years.
“During his time with DNV GL he worked on a limited number of projects — primarily within materials technology,” said the company, which is also the largest technical consultancy to the global renewable energy and oil and gas industry.
Till present no reaction from behalf of Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry has followed.
The Dutch government accused Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, of targeting the world’s chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, through a foiled cyber operation.
“The Dutch government finds the involvement of these intelligence operatives extremely worrisome,” Dutch Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld told a news conference. “Normally we don’t reveal this type of counter-intelligence operation” she added.
The Netherlands publicly identified the alleged Russian agents and said the operation was carried out by Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, Dutch officials said.
Britain helped the Netherlands with the operation, they added.
“The West’s spy mania is gaining momentum. Russia’s official commentary will follow soon,” the Foreign Ministry said. TASS News Agency reported.
A deputy minister of foreign affairs of Russian Federation His Excellency (HE) Anatoly Antonov (62) is appointed as a new ambassador to the USA, the news announced via the site of Kremlin. Antonov candidacy has been approved by the Council of Federation, the upper chamber of the parliament.
In Russia Antonov is well-known public figure, being systematically involved in debate on military and political issues, he also took part in numerous scientific and analytical conferences. Antonov was responsible for establishing contacts between Russian Defense Ministry and the military departments of foreign countries, while working as a deputy minister of the Defence ministry (since 2011).
In connection with the coup-d’état in Ukraine, and return of Crimea to Russia, in February 2015 his name was included in the sanctions lists of the European Union and Canada, in September 2015 – in the sanctions list of Ukraine.
On December 18, 2016, by a decree of the President of the Russian Federation, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in charge of issues of military-political security.
On May 11, 2017, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted Antonov’s candidacy to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to consider the appointment to the post of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the United States. The appointment was approved by the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
Antonov will replace Sergey Kislyak (66), who held the position for eight years, which is not exceptional in Russian civil servant’s system, where notion of rotation is rather vague. However Kislyak’s replacement is not occurring in overdue of his mandate, but the investigations by the FBI and Congress into Kislyak’s contacts with Trump aides during the 2016 election campaign.