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 a scene about responding to a pipeline explosion, according to Norwegian media, which hosted the event. Coordinator of the group, and a photo of the event. .

Norwegian security officials announced this week that they have arrested a man they say is a Brazilian academic doing research on Arctic issues in the city of Tromsø. that he is in fact a Russian “illegal”. He has been identified in news reports as José Assis Giammaria.

The arrest comes as at least seven Russians, including the son of a close aide of President Vladimir Putin, have been detained in recent weeks for flying drones or taking photos near sensitive areas.

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

The chain of events is on the edge of Norway – and Europe. The oil and gas sector is at the heart of Norway’s economy. Since Russia launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine, the country has become a major supplier to Europe.

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Out of sight of Norwegian drones, capture of Putin’s son

Norwegian newspaper Worden’s Gang It was first reported on Thursday that the suspect attended a seminar on countering hybrid threats in Vilnius, Lithuania on September 29-30.

The seminar was hosted by EU-HYBNET, a European network on hybrid threats. A concept that includes sabotage, disinformation, cyber attacks and other means of fighting outside of traditional state-to-state military conflict.

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

A photo shared on Twitter by Mykolas Romeris University shows Giamaria sitting among the participants of the workshop, which was organized on September 29 with the Lithuanian Cybercrime Center of Excellence for Training, Research and Education. .

Both the EU-HYBNET website and a brochure for Vilnius Event Spotlight funding from European Commission spokesman EU Peter Stano confirmed the funding, but said EU institutions were involved in the group’s day-to-day activities. Are not.

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According to a brochure for the gathering, the goal of the “training and exercise” event was to help participants understand “what adversaries can exploit vulnerabilities” and “outline hybrid challenges in a realistic future operational environment.”

Participants reviewed various scenarios, including a case of “Gas Flow Shutdown Following an Explosion in a Gas Pipeline.” In the case study, “preliminary findings support the hypothesis that this may be a case of sabotage and not an accident” – an eerie echo of the recent sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines.

The EU has warned of a ‘strong’ response to sabotage following the Nord Stream explosions.

Norwegian domestic security officials announced the arrest of the 37-year-old suspect earlier this week, saying he posed a “threat to fundamental national interests”.

Hedvig Moe, deputy chief of the Norwegian Police Security Service, told Norwegian media there was concern that “he has acquired a network and information about Norwegian politics in the northern region.” Even if the information the person obtained did not directly compromise Norway’s security, it could still be misused by Russia, he said. Authorities did not provide information on the time of his arrest.

Details of the case are still emerging. Jayamaria was doing research at the Arctic University in Norway. As of October 25, he was listed as a researcher at a university think tank called “The Gray Zone”. He is no longer listed on their site.

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Before moving to Norway, he lived in Canada, where he studied at the University of Ottawa and the University of Calgary. While in Ottawa, he volunteered on canvassing for a political campaign, according to Global News. In 2018, he received his Masters degree from the University of Calgary’s Center for Military, Security and Strategic Studies.

In 2019, he wrote an article for the Canadian Naval Review. The article, titled “Third Base: The Case for CFB Churchill,” argues in favor of establishing a naval base in Canada’s north.

The case comes months after another suspected Russian “illegal” was arrested in the Netherlands. In this case, an alleged Russian spy pretended to be Brazilian for an internship at the International Criminal Court. He had previously studied in America.

“Illegals” operate without diplomatic cover, creating a cover story over time, often over many years. In a high-profile 2010 case, the United States arrested 10 Russian operatives who had been living in the United States for years while secretly reporting to Moscow’s foreign intelligence agency.

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