On Monday,the Russian Foreign Ministry called Norway’s ambassador on the carpet they announced.
According to the Russians,Norwegian ambassador Rune Resaland was confronted with a “strong protest against the arrest of Russian civil servant Mikhail Botsjkarev (51)” for espionage. The Russian Foreign Ministry even named the alleged spy in a press release.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the case to NTB news,but did not want to say anything about what was said during the meeting.
Not a political matter
‘’Norway’s ambassador was called on Monday.That’s what we can say about the case” said communications adviser, Ane Haavardsdatter Lunde,of the UD to NTB news.
Nor would Foreign Minister,Ine Eriksen Søreide, say anything in detail about the matter.
‘’This is a police case under investigation. It is up to the prosecution to assess what is going on. This is not a political matter.The prosecution authorities make their assessments completely independently” said the Foreign Minister to NTB.
Consequences for Norway
The press release from the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the case may have “consequences” for Norway.
The 51-year-old Russian was arrested by the Police Security Service (PST) and charged with espionage and passing on Norwegian state secrets on Friday afternoon after attending an IT seminar in Parliament under the auspices of the European Center for Parliamentary Research and Documentation (ECPRD).
The 51-year-old was employed as senior adviser in the Ministry of Information Technology in the Russian Federation Council in the Duma.
NRK’s correspondent in Moscow,Jan Espen Kruse,said Russia was very upset after the arrest and characterised the words of the Russian Foreign Ministry as being “unusually sharp”.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today