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Employee of University of Tromsø in Norway arrested on charges of spying in favour of Russia while undercover as ‘researcher from Brazil’

A north-Norwegian city of Tromsø court has arrested an employee of the Arctic University whom intelligence services suspect of residing in Norway with false Brazilian documents and carrying out reconnaissance activities in favour of Russia, TV channel NRK reports, citing the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST).

“We petitioned for expulsion of a Brazilian researcher working in the University of Tromsø-Arctic University of Norway from the country due to us suspecting that he represents a threat to fundamental national interests,” deputy head of PST Hedvig Moe said.

According to the intelligence agency, the man has Russian citizenship and has been working in Norway undercover on assignment for Russia’s government.

The man’s name and age have not been revealed. The only thing reported is that he arrived in the kingdom for research work in the area of hybrid threats in autumn 2021. The programme on researching hybrid threats at the University of Tromsø was launched with NATO’s support. Due to this fact, the Norwegian intelligence is wary of Russian spies infiltrating into the community with access to information about Norway’s plans for the Arctic.

NRK notes that this is the first time the Police Security Service has detained a so-called illegal spy, i.e. a spy working under an assumed identity.

This is the tenth person this month detained in Norway’s north (which is where the country’s strategic objects are located) for suspicious activity that is potentially beneficial to Russia’s authorities. On 13 October, police detained a Russian man at the land border who was trying to transport drones from Norway to Russia. On 14 October, a Norwegian court arrested four Russians for using drones to record footage near protected sites in the north of Norway. Later, they were released. On 15 October, another Russian carrying a drone was detained at the Tromsø airport. On 19 October, Norwegian police detained Andrey Yakunin, the son of ex-head of the state-owned company Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin, on Svalbard — he was also recording footage using a drone. On 24 October, it was reported that two Russians had been detained for recording footage of military objects in the north of Norway.

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