At least 80 members of Russian diplomatic missions in Italy work for Russia’s main intelligence services: the Main Intelligence Directorate, the Federal Security Service, and the Foreign Intelligence Service.
This is reported by La Repubblica with reference to the Italian counterintelligence – the Internal Intelligence and Security Agency (AISI).
As noted, the task of these spies under the guise of accredited diplomats is to collect classified information and recruit new agents. Italian Navy captain Walter Biot was one of them.
According to the Italian counterintelligence data, Biot intended to give Russian agents a USB drive with classified documents on it in exchange for €5,000. On 31 March, the Italian officer was caught in the act of handing secret documents to a Russian military official.
Biot worked in the General Staff. A total of 181 photos of classified documents were found on the USB stick, including nine identified as highly confidential and almost 50 as “secret NATO documents.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy summoned Russia’s ambassador to Rome to lodge a formal protest. Two Russian diplomats, Alexei Nemudrov and Dmitry Ostroukhov, were expelled. They were not detained because of their diplomatic immunity.