Norway exposes Russian intelligence agents preparing acts of sabotage

Friday, 3 May 2024 —

The Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) has discovered that Russian intelligence agents are working in Western Norway, which could mean that Russia may be preparing sabotage operations at critical infrastructure.

This district has the largest naval base in Northern Europe, Haakonsvern, as well as important oil and gas facilities such as Mongstad, Kollsnes and Sture, along with power plants and other facilities related to electricity supply.

"We see that some of Russia's intentions may be to prepare acts of sabotage. They are operating throughout the area and moving around," Torgils Lutro, the head of the PST in Western Norway, said in an interview with NRK.

In particular, Lutro said that several Russian agents had been exposed. He did not specify their number.


Lutro believes that, in addition to personal gain, Russia wants to damage Norway's reputation among its allies.

"It is clear that one of Russia's goals is to make us look bad. They will try to show that we are not controlling the situation, or that we cannot help our allies with exports in potential future situations," he said.

The PST stated that Russian intelligence activities on Norwegian territory had intensified since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

"Russian intelligence agents are working against a variety of targets, such as critical and vulnerable infrastructure and military installations. They also have a clear goal of exposing Norwegian contingency plans," Lutro said.

Amid the Russo-Ukrainian war, the Norwegian authorities have expelled more than 15 employees of the Russian Embassy in Norway on suspicion of intelligence activities. As a result, Russia has had to reconsider the use of its intelligence tools.

"It is not easy for us to find out who these agents are. They blend in with the crowd, which is also their job. They don't necessarily have Russian citizenship, but they can be motivated to act on behalf of Russia, by money or threats for example," Lutro explained.

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