Norwegian citizen arrested in Russian Federation suspected of espionage

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A 62-year-old Norwegian man has been arrested in Russian Federation on suspicion of espionage for foreign powers, local media reported Tuesday.

Berg was detained during a Federal Security Service (FSB) operation in Moscow on December 6, as he was allegedly receiving documents containing classified information on the Russian Navy, media reported.

Berg is to stay in detention until February 5, 2018.

Earlier this year, Norwegian intelligence accused a group with suspected links to Moscow of targeting the country's foreign ministry and military, among other institutions. Frode Berg was detained by FSB two weeks ago.

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"The foreign service at the embassy in Moscow has been in contact with the prisoner, and assistance is provided in accordance with the current guidelines and framework for consular assistance for Norwegian citizens detained overseas", Frode Overland Andersen, director of communications at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told TV 2. This information is, according to the news agency, "documents relating to the Russian navy". According to media reports, Berg has provided information not only to the Norwegian Special Services - the relevant data was also available to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Some reports suggested his arrest could be linked to what they said was his opposition to the construction of a fence along a small part of Norway's short border with Russian Federation.

However, the date for the court hearing in Moscow City Court has still not been set, TASS news agency reported. This border town is the only permanent auto checkpoint on the Norwegian-Russian border.

The 62-year-old had worked as a border inspector in Kirkenes in northern Norway for 25 years before he retired in 2014. The last post with a picture of him posing against the New Year's Fair on Red Square in Moscow was made on December 5.

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