Italy Expels Russians After Spies ‘Caught Red-Handed’
Italy expelled two Russian officials on Wednesday after an Italian navy captain was caught red-handed by police selling secret documents to the Russians.
The Italian frigate captain was arrested on spying charges after officers tailing him saw him late Tuesday in Rome in a “clandestine meeting” with a Russian military officer, according to a police statement.
The two men met in a car park, according to media reports. Special operations police stopped them both but arrested only the navy officer, accusing him of passing on “confidential documents” in exchange for money.
The Russian, an embassy official, avoided custody thanks to diplomatic immunity, police said.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio summoned Russian ambassador Sergey Razov on Wednesday morning to lodge a formal protest.
The diplomat was notified of “the immediate expulsion of the two Russian officials involved in this very serious affair,” Di Maio said.
Eleonora Tafuro, a Russia expert at the ISPI think tank in Milan, said such incidents in Italy were rare.