After the arrest of a researcher specializing in hybrid threats in the Arctic, vigilance has increased. Seven Russian Citizens Arrested for Flying Drones, Another for Taking Photographs of Airport Fences | The military point | 311
At the end of October, the Norwegian security services appear at the University of Tromso with a warrant to search the office of 37-year-old Jose Assis Giammaria, a Brazilian researcher at the Center for Peace Studies very helpful – he had even offered to redesign the site of the study center – but who never wanted to speak Portuguese nor, above all, about his own research project, focused on hybrid threats in the Arctic. Oddities that had made his colleagues at the Norwegian university suspicious, together with the fact that Giammaria financed the research project by himself and ensured that he would extend it. Initially the young Brazilian was accused of having violated the immigration laws but, a few days later, the agents of the Pst – the Oslo counterintelligence – announce the arrest of a spy, a Russian citizen born in 1978 named Mikhail Mikushinaccording to the investigative site Bellingcat a colonel of the GRU, Moscow’s military intelligence. Mikushin denies being an agent in the service of the Russians, but he is accused of spying on state secrets that could harm national interests and now faces a three-year sentence.
Since then, he told the New York Times Marcela Douglas, director of the Center for Peace Studies, I began to see spies everywhere. The story of Giammaria – a master’s degree in Canada, before moving to Norway in December 2021 – identical, moreover, to that of other illegals, Russian agents sent to the West to live under a false identity and now pursued by the authorities from all over Europe. In June, for example, counterintelligence Dutch arrested a young Brazilian who was about to start a job like intern at the International Court in The Hague, revealing that he was a Gru spy; in August, in Italy, emerged the story of Maria Adela Kuhfeldtone woman who said she was born in Peru to a German father but in reality she too is a pawn – already safe at home – in Moscow’s services; at the end of november, a team of Swedish special forces descended by helicopter on a house on the outskirts of Stockholm, arresting a couple of Russian origin who, it turned out, had been working for years in the service of Putin’s 007s.
Suspicious incidents then occurred across the continentalbeit without evidence that they are linked to the Kremlin: by the seven Russian citizens – including the Russian tycoon Andrey Yakunin — arrested in Norway for flying drones, an illegal activity according to European sanctions, ai undersea cables mysteriously sabotaged from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. Without considering, of course, the explosions that damaged the two Nord Stream gas pipelines at the end of September which connected Russia to Germany and which, news of these days, European intelligence would not have been able to connect with certainty to Moscow. The war of the shadows is therefore being fought throughout Europebut Norway — notes the New York Times — has several reasons to worry, starting with a 198km border with Russia. The Scandinavian country has benefited enormously from Western sanctions on Russian gas and oil, becoming the continent’s main supplier. The submarine cables that connect with the financial hub of London and those used to send satellite images to the United States pass along the Arctic coast.
Arrests and sabotage, therefore, fueled the fears of the Norwegians. Thus began the sightings of military drones in the North Sea, near oil platforms or gas pipelines, at Bergen airport forced to close for two hours due to the presence of unmanned aircraft. In Tromso, then, a Russian engineer, Aleksey Reznichenko, was arrested for taking photographs of fences and parking lot: images of another airport and a military helicopter were found in the camera’s memory. At the same time, even without finding evidence, the authorities wondered about the strange incidents involving an underwater cable and an aquifer earlier this year supplying a military base. There is no reason to believe that Russia wants to invade Norway, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said in recent weeks, announcing however the increase in the level of military readiness. The Norwegian and Danish Navies have indeed ordered a rather sophisticated type of underwater drone, produced abroad. We have to be vigilant, but I don’t think the average citizen will notice.
December 22, 2022 (change December 22, 2022 | 16:58)
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In Norway, the arrest of a Russian spy has triggered an obsession with “illegals” and sabotage