Suspected Russian spy arrested by Norway attended conference on hybrid warfare

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BRUSSELS – The suspected Russian spy arrested in Norway this week recently attended a seminar on hybrid threats that included scenarios on how to respond to a pipeline explosion, according to Norwegian media, the group that hosted the event. event, and photos from the event. .

Norwegian security officials announced this week that they have arrested a man claiming to be a Brazilian scientist doing research on Arctic issues in the city of Tromsø who they believe is an “illegal” Russian. ” in fact. He was identified in news reports as José Assis Giammaria.

Following the arrests, at least seven Russians — including the son of a close associate of President Vladimir Putin — have been detained in recent weeks for flying drones or filming near sensitive areas. – Paddy.

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Norway and other European countries are rushing to secure critical infrastructure after the sabotage of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline. In recent months, many drones have been seen at Norwegian oil and gas fields and at Norwegian airports.

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The Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang first reported Thursday that the suspect attended a Sept. 29-30 seminar in Vilnius, Lithuania, on hybrid threats.

The seminar was hosted by EU-HYBNET, a European network on hybrid threats, which includes sabotage, disinformation, cyberattacks and other ways to fight outside of conventional military conflicts with states. The organization’s website and conference brochure say the group is funded by the European Union. A spokesman for the commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Paivi Mattila, a professor at Finland’s Laurea University of Applied Sciences who coordinates the EU-HYBNET program, confirmed by phone that the suspected spy attended the event. He said he did not conduct a security check but declined to comment on the investigation.

A photo shared by Mykolas Romeris University on Twitter shows Giammaria sitting among workshop participants at an event organized by the Lithuanian Cybercrime Center for Excellence for Training, Research and Education on September 29

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A brochure for the seminar in Vilnius says that the participants of the event will examine different scenarios, including a case of “blocking the flow of gas after a gas pipeline explosion.” In the case study, “initial findings support the hypothesis that this may have been sabotage rather than an accident.”

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Information about this suspect is still coming out. Norwegian domestic security officials announced the arrest this week, saying the suspect was a “threat to fundamental national interests.”

There are concerns that “he may have acquired networks and information about Norwegian politics in the north,” Deputy Chief Hedvig Moe of the Norwegian Police Security Service told media. Norwegian view. Even if the person’s information does not directly compromise Norway’s security, it could be misused by Russia, he said.

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On October 21, Giammaria was listed as a researcher in the Norwegian research center ‘The Gray Zone’ at The Arctic University of Norway. He is no longer listed on their website.”

Before moving to Norway, the suspect lived in Canada, where he studied at the University of Ottawa and the University of Calgary. While in Ottawa, he volunteered to run a local political campaign, according to Global News.

In 2019, he wrote an article for the Canadian Naval Review. The article, titled “Third Base: The Case for CFB Churchill,” supports the construction of a naval base in northern Canada.

The case comes months after another Russian was arrested on “illegal” charges in the Netherlands. In that case, a suspected Russian spy posing as a Brazilian was seeking an internship at the International Criminal Court. He had previously studied in the United States.

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