Norwegian intelligence: Migrants arriving from Russia have espionage missions

Among the migrants who traveled from Russia to Norway through the Sturskug border crossing in 2015 were people who received assignments from foreign intelligence services.

The head of the Norwegian counterintelligence service (PST), Atle Tangen, stated this, according to NRK reports.

“We found out that foreign services sent people on (spy) missions,” the head of counterintelligence said in his podcast.

Tangen confirmed in comments to NRK that the PST had not previously made this information public but did not disclose the fate of the exposed spies.

He said these people received different treatment without mentioning their nationality. “I don’t want to say anything about their nationality,” he said.

“I don’t want to use the term spies to describe those we discovered. These were not intelligence agents in the traditional sense, but people who had been tricked or threatened by intelligence organizations into carrying out assignments for them. This shows the challenges we face and the methods that are being used. This is still a real issue”.

Atle Tangen, Head of Norwegian counterintelligence service

“Illegal intelligence against refugees and the recruitment of refugees traveling to Norway to make them conduct illegal intelligence here are still relevant. For this reason, we cannot go into more detail about this at this time”.

Atle Tangen, Head of Norwegian counterintelligence service

In 2015, Syrians, Afghans, and Iraqis, among others, were arriving by the hundreds every week on bicycles to the Norwegian border from Russia in search of asylum.

According to documents NRK has obtained from the Norwegian Police Immigration Service (PU), the total number of asylum seekers who crossed the border in 2015 was 5,464.

“You have to go through three border crossings with checks at each post before you reach the Norwegian border crossing. In the north, it’s no secret that there are military areas, so they have extra good control over who is in the area. They keep a close eye on who is moving in the area. So many people have not been able to get to the border without the FSB’s will and knowledge.”

Atle Tangen, Head of Norwegian counterintelligence service

Earlier, the Latvian State Security Service detained a Russian citizen suspected of spying for Russian intelligence services.

Before that, a court in Poland found 14 citizens of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine guilty of preparing sabotage in favor of Moscow as part of a spy group.

In November, Polish authorities charged sixteen defendants with espionage, which involved preparing to blow up trains carrying humanitarian aid to Ukraine and conducting surveillance of military and critical infrastructure facilities.

Polish media reports state that Maxim S., a Russian hockey player for a Polish club from Sosnowiec who was arrested in June, is among the convicts, along with two Ukrainian lawyers and a political scientist, a French teacher, a pharmacist, and a software engineer.

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