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Italian-navy-officer caught selling secrets documents to Russia

Italian officer 'caught selling secrets to Russia'

Italian-navy-officer caught selling secrets documents to Russia

An Italian navy officer has been arrested while being

caught in the act of handing secret documents to

a Russian military official, police say.

The men were stopped by military police on suspicion of

serious crimes relating to espionage and state security.

The Russian, who reportedly worked at the Russian

embassy in Italy, is expected to be expelled.

Russia’s ambassador Sergey Razov has been summoned

to the foreign ministry in Rome. The carabinieri del Ros special

operations group swooped on the men in Rome on Tuesday

evening “during a clandestine meeting between the two,

caught immediately after the transfer of a document by the

Italian officer in exchange for a sum of money”, a police statement said.

The Italian is described as being the captain of a frigate and the

Russian officer’s diplomatic status is currently being assessed.

The Russian embassy confirmed the involvement of a military

attaché official but said any further comment was inappropriate,

adding that it hoped the incident would not affect relations,

Russia’s Ria news agency reported.

Italy’s Corriere website reports that papers seized in the naval

officer’s flat suggest he may have passed on Nato secrets,

thereby placing other countries’ national security at risk.

Russian decline in relations with Nato

Police moved in following a lengthy operation by Italy’s

Aisi domestic intelligence agency. Italian media are describing

the incident as the most serious since the Cold War.

Relations between Moscow and Nato have deteriorated

since Russia seized and annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014.

The poisoning of leading Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny,

now being held in a Russian penal colony, has also led to a decline.

Last week, Nato member Bulgaria expelled two Russian diplomats

for “intelligence activity incompatible with diplomatic relations”.

Italian fighter planes were involved in a Nato operation to

intercept Russian planes over the Baltic Sea on Monday.

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