Norway’s security service said on Friday that the country had expelled 15 Russian diplomats this week and that they had tried to recruit sources, intercept communications and buy advanced technology.
The agency’s counterintelligence officer, Inger Hoogland, said in a press conference that the actual bodies that employ the diplomats are the Main Military Intelligence Directorate, the Federal Security Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service, according to Reuters.
It also added that the expulsion “reduces the risk of a Russian intelligence threat in Norway by permanently reducing the number of intelligence officials working under diplomatic cover.”
The largest expulsion
It is noteworthy that Norway’s decision represents the largest expulsion of Russian diplomats, and it is the latest in a series of similar moves by Western countries since the beginning of the Russian military operation in Ukraine.
According to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the measure will deport about a third of the about 40 Russian diplomats in Norway.
On the other hand, Russia said, on Thursday, that it would respond to the expulsion.
Strengthening security measures
Norway, a member of NATO, shares a border with Russia in the Arctic.
And it has strengthened its security measures since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, especially around oil and gas facilities, after it is now the largest supplier of gas in Europe after the decline in Russian flows.