Norway is expelling 15 Russian embassy officers that the international ministry says are intelligence officers working beneath the duvet of diplomatic positions, a transfer which Moscow says it can reply to.
The expulsions quantity to 1 / 4 of Russian diplomats at present accredited in Oslo, the Norwegian authorities stated on Thursday.
It’s the newest occasion of a Western nation expelling Russian diplomats because the starting of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine final 12 months.
Thus far this 12 months, Estonia, the Netherlands and Austria have additionally expelled Russian diplomats.
Norway additionally expelled three Russians in April 2022.
“This is a vital step in countering, and decreasing the extent of, Russian intelligence exercise in Norway, and thus in safeguarding our nationwide pursuits,” Norway’s International Minister Anniken Huitfeldt stated.
“Russia at present poses the best intelligence risk to Norway … We is not going to permit Russian intelligence officers to function beneath diplomatic cowl,” she added.
The officers involved should depart Norway shortly, the ministry stated.
The Russian international ministry stated Moscow would reply to the expulsions, state-owned information company TASS reported, with out elaborating. Officers at Russia’s Oslo embassy weren’t instantly obtainable for remark when contacted by Reuters.
Norway, a member of the NATO army alliance, shares a border with Russia within the Arctic.
The Nordic nation nonetheless sought to keep up regular diplomatic relations with Russia, and Russian diplomats had been welcome in Norway, Huitfeldt stated.
Australian Related Press