The Norwegian embassy in Moscow. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Moscow expells senior Norwegian diplomat

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned the Norwegian Ambassador to inform about the expulsion of a senior diplomat.
August 28, 2020

Ambassador Rune Resaland on Friday got the message from the Russian Foreign Ministry that one of his senior staff will have to leave Russia in the course of 72 hours.

The expulsion comes as a response to Norway’s expulsion of Aleksandr Stekolshchikov, the Deputy Head of the Russian trade mission in Oslo.

“In connection with the unfriendly act of Norwegian authorities announced on the 18th August when a Russian diplomat was made persona non grata, Norwegian Ambassador in Moscow Rune Resaland was invited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be informed that a senior Norwegian diplomat at the Norwegian Embassy is also made persona non grata,” a statement from the Russian ministry reads.

According to NRK, it is embassy Counsellor Jan Flæte that now has to leave the Russian capital. The diplomatic rang of Flæte is believed to be significantly higher than the one of Aleksandr Stekolshchikov and his expulsion is consequently seen by the Norwegian side as an escalation of the situation.

According to the Russian ministry, Norway’s “destructive line” will inevitably have negative impact on bilateral relations.

“The responsibility for the consequences of such a policy fully lies in Oslo,” the Ministry underlines.

Aleksandr Stekolshchikov was expelled from Norway after he was caught redhanded in espionage activity.

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The embassy trade representative reportedly received secret information from Norwegian citizen Harsharn Singh Tathgar. The two men were taken by suprise by police during a meeting in a cafe in Oslo.

Tathgar originally comes from India and has since 2012 been employed in the energy division of DNV GL.

His field of work is within 3D printing.

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