“This is the most serious incident of its kind since the Cold War,” the Romanian daily La Repubblica confirmed on its website.
The Italian Foreign Ministry called on the Russian ambassador in Rome, on Wednesday morning, to protest what happened. A request for the immediate expulsion of Russian officials involved in the case has also been submitted.
Earlier, the media behind the intelligence services reported that an Italian Navy officer – the captain of the frigate – had been arrested by police on suspicion of espionage. He was arrested while handing out classified documents to a Russian military diplomat in exchange for money. The Russian was also arrested.
Both are accused of espionage and taking measures against state security.
“In contact with the Foreign Ministry’s call to the Russian ambassador to Italy, we conveyed to him our strong protest from the Italian government and announced the immediate expulsion of the Russian officials involved. In this extremely dangerous case,” Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio wrote on social media.
“I would like to thank our intelligence and the entire state apparatus for their daily work for the sake of the security of our country,” the diplomat said.
The Kremlin’s answer
The Russian Foreign Ministry told Onsi: “We regret the expulsion of two employees of the Russian embassy in Rome, and we are looking deeply into the circumstances of this decision.”
And the ministry announced in Moscow: “We will issue a message regarding our possible steps within the framework of this decision that does not correspond to the level of bilateral relations.”
The Russian embassy in Italy confirmed the arrest of an official from the office of the military attache on March 30.