SHARE
COPY LINK

RUSSIA

Norwegian diplomat expelled by Russia over spy affair

The Russian foreign ministry on Friday said it had expelled a senior Norwegian diplomat in retaliation after Oslo expelled a Russian diplomat following the arrest of a suspected spy.

Norwegian diplomat expelled by Russia over spy affair
An unrelated illustration photo showing the Russian embassy in The Hague. Photo: AFP

The Russian ministry said that “as a retaliatory measure” a senior diplomat at the Norwegian embassy was declared persona non grata and must leave within three days.

Russia accused Norway of taking a “destructive course” that would “inevitably negatively affect the atmosphere of bilateral relations.

Norwegian foreign ministry spokeswoman Guri Solberg called the diplomat's expulsion “totally without foundation” in a statement sent to AFP. Norway named the diplomat as Jan Flæte.

It came after Norway announced the expulsion of a Russian diplomat on August 19th, days after arresting a Norwegian man suspected of passing sensitive information to Moscow.

Oslo accused the Russian diplomat, who worked in the trade section, of acts “not compatible with his status as a diplomat.”

The diplomat was with the Norwegian man at the time of his arrest at an Oslo restaurant.

The Norwegian, identified by court documents as Harsharn Singh Tathgar, risks up to 15 years in prison if found guilty of espionage.

He worked for DNV GL, a company that provides certification for oil and gas industries.

The 50-year-old man told investigators he had handed over information in exchange for “not insignificant sums in cash”, but insisted the information was not harmful to Norway's interests.

In recent decades several spy cases have marred ties between NATO member Norway and Russia, which share a border in the Arctic Circle.

READ ALSO: 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

TRAVEL

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Monday 

Find out what’s going on in Norway on Monday with The Local’s short roundup of important news. 

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Monday 
Oslo Operahus. Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Norwegian government to unveil more details around Covid certificate 

On Monday, the government will issue guidelines on how exactly its Covid-19 certificate will be used domestically.

At 3pm, the government will hold a press conference where they will reveal more about how the Covid-19 certificates will work.

The certificate launched on Friday, but so far, the government have been sparing with details on how it will be used. 

READ MORE: Explained: How to access Norway’s Covid-19 certificate 

They have, however, revealed the certificate would be used for access to large events as well as tours and cruises within Norway. 

We will have all the details on how the certificate will be used covered in an article later today. 

Ministry of Defence: No signs of espionage 

There is no evidence to suggest that Danish data cables were used to actively spy on Norwegian politicians by the US, Defence Minister Frank Bakke Jensen has told parliament. 

At the end of May, Danmarks Radio reported that the US used Danish data cables to spy on politicians across Europe. 

“These are serious allegations that the government takes very seriously. Based on what we know, it does not look like there has been activity (espionage) directed at Norwegian politicians,” Jensen said in a statement. 

READ MORE: Norway summons US embassy top official over spying claims 

“Systematic espionage is completely unacceptable. We are clear to the Danish and American authorities about this. We are also in active dialogue with Danish and American authorities and services about the information regarding this matter,” he added. 

One in ten Norwegians plan summer holiday abroad 

Only ten percent of respondents to a new survey have said they plan on going on holiday abroad this summer. 

According to the survey by employer organisation, Virke, the majority, 60 percent, said that their travel plans have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Fewer children are being adopted from abroad in Norway 

In 2020, 46 children were adopted from abroad in Norway, half the number of foreign adoptions compared to 2019.

According to new figures from Statistics Norway, the number of foreign children being adopted in Norway is also less than 10 percent of what it was in 1998 when 795 foreign adoptions were registered. 

A total of 243 adoptions were recorded in Norway last year, almost 100 less than the year before. 

One of the reasons fewer foreign children are being adopted is that countries that have previously released children for adoption abroad can now take care of these children themselves, according to Statistics Norway.

96 new coronavirus cases

On Sunday, 96 new cases of Covid-19 were registered in Norway, 89 fewer than the seven-day average of 185. 

Fewer cases tend to be registered on weekends and public holidays than on weekdays. 

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 0.9. This means that every ten people that are infected will, on average, only infect another nine people, indicating that the infection level is declining.

Total number of Covid-19 cases in Norway. Source: NIPH
SHOW COMMENTS