Russian spies targeting Norway’s critical infrastructure exposed

Norwegian Police
Norwegian Police

Norway’s special services have exposed Russian spies allegedly preparing to sabotage key infrastructure facilities across the district that hosts Haakonsvern, the Royal Norwegian Navy’s largest base in Northern Europe, as well as vital oil, gas, and power installations.

The rise in Russia's intelligence activities in Norway correlates with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, according to Norwegian authorities. Since the conflict's escalation in 2022, over 15 Russian embassy staff have been expelled under suspicions of espionage, stated Lutro, a spokesperson for the Norwegian services.

"We see that Russia may be planning acts of sabotage. They are active throughout the district," Lutro revealed. He confirmed the exposure of several agents but declined to disclose specific numbers.

Read also: Jail time for Russian spy convicted in Poland

Lutro also suggested that the espionage efforts are partly aimed at tarnishing Norway's international reputation. "It is clear that one of Russia's goals is to cast us in a negative light, perhaps to show that we cannot maintain control or support our allies in critical times."

The activities of these agents vary, with targets including military facilities and infrastructure deemed critical and vulnerable, particularly those integral to Norway’s emergency response strategies.

"It's challenging to identify these agents. They blend in with the general population, and they might not necessarily hold Russian citizenship but could be driven by financial incentives or threats," Lutro explained.

The motivations behind Russia's interest in Norway might be linked to the country's NATO membership, its support for Ukraine, and its capabilities in training aircrews and developing weaponry potentially used in the Ukraine war.

Eviny, Western Norway's largest energy company, has also reported unusual activities around its power lines and 39 power plants. "We can confirm that there was suspicious activity at our Modalen power plant. Alert locals reported this to our staff, who then informed the police and PST, leading to robust cooperation," said a company spokesperson.

Reports suggest that Russia's espionage efforts against Western nations are intensifying, with a network of spies reportedly larger than during the Cold War era, as per FT. This resurgence in Russian espionage aims to steal classified information, sow discord within NATO, and undermine support for Ukraine, with methods that are increasingly sophisticated.

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