Norway’s Verdens Gang newspaper has published the name of a Russian diplomat who has been declared persona non grata in light of an espionage scandal

MOSCOW ( IPP – 20th August, 2020 ) Norway’s Verdens Gang newspaper has published the name of a Russian diplomat who has been declared persona non grata in light of an espionage scandal.

On Wednesday, Norway announced that it would expel a Russian diplomat over activities incompatible with the latter’s role and status. The decision was made after the Norwegian police arrested last week a 50-year-old Norwegian man suspected of providing secret information to a foreign country that “could harm Norway’s fundamental interests.” The man, who can face up to 15 years in prison, allegedly met with a Russian intelligence officer.

According to the Norwegian newspaper, the person called a “Russian intelligence officer” is Alexander Stekolshchikov, who serves as a Russian deputy trade representative in Norway.

Verdens Gang says it contacted Stekolshchikov, but he declined to comment on the story.

The Russian Embassy in Oslo earlier expressed protest over the diplomat’s expulsion. It said that the Russian deputy trade representative was detained and searched, despite his diplomatic status, as he was meeting with a Norwegian citizen on August 15. The diplomatic mission noted that the arrested Norwegian national was working for subsea pipeline certification company DNV GL, which has a long history of cooperation with Russia.

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