(News 24h) – The French Minister of Defense confirmed that he was arrested to investigate a high-ranking NATO officer who dispersed classified documents to the Russian side.
On August 30, European media simultaneously reported, citing confirmed cases of a high-ranking French officer at a NATO base arrested and prosecuted on allegations of spying for Russia.
|French Defense Minister Florence Parly paid a visit to Italy over the weekend. Photo: Europe1|
According to Radio Europe 1, the unidentified officer was stationed at NATO’s Naples base in Italy, while the French government confirmed it was investigating a senior military officer for “security breaches”.
French Defense Minister Florence Parly told radio Europe 1: “What I can confirm is that a senior officer is facing legal proceedings because of a security breach. The Ministry of Defense took the initiative and brought the prosecutor on board.
We have taken all necessary security measures and we should now let the justice system do its job to keep the investigation confidential. “
According to one source, the officer was indicted for “giving information to an outside force, gathering information that harms the core interests of the country and destroying defense secrets”.
Radio Europe 1 said that the senior officer had the rank of lieutenant colonel, knew Russian and was found to have contact with a man who was a GRU agent, the Russian military intelligence agency, and was suspected of providing Sensitive material for the Russian side.
The officer was arrested by French intelligence forces while preparing to return to Italy after finishing his vacation in his home country and is currently being held in Paris.
So far, the Russian side has not spoken out about this incident.
In August, there were a series of accusations against Russian embassy staff of espionage and requests for deportation to the country. At least there was Norway, Austria, Slovakia.
Just a few days ago, Austria expelled a Russian diplomat, accusing him of “conducting economic espionage in a high-tech company”. This activity “went on for many years” with the support of an Austrian citizen.
The Russian side has harshly condemned this action, considering it a baseless decision and affirmed that it would respond adequately.
Meanwhile, in response to Norwegian accusations of diplomats working as spies for Russia, a few days later, Moscow made a similar move by expelling Norwegian diplomats on allegations of espionage.
Before the response, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry said: “This is completely unfounded. Our diplomats have never violated anything ”.
The person being deported is believed to be Jan Flate, Counselor of the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow, according to the RIA Novosti news agency. The Norwegian diplomat will be disqualified within three days of making the decision on August 28. After that, he would have to leave Russia soon.