The Italian authorities have expelled two officers of the Russian embassy, Italy's Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said.
“We summoned the Russian ambassador to Italy to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, set out a firm protest from the Italian government and notified the immediate expulsion of two Russian officials involved in this very serious case,” Di Maio wrote on his Facbook page.
“I would like to thank our intelligence services and public agencies that work every day to ensure the security of our country,” the minister added.
Earlier, Italian special services announced the arrest of an officer of the Italian navy and an employee of the apparatus of the Russian military attaché during the handover of documents. The Italian national, the press service of the special forces of the Italian carabinieri (ROS) said, was arrested red-handed while handing over documents in exchange for money. The authorities still decide how to act in relation to the Russian national due to his diplomatic status.
La Repubblica called the spy scandal the biggest since the Cold War era. Another major Italian publication, Corriere della Sera, wrote that the Russian nationals would be expelled from Italy.
"The Kremlin does not have information about the reasons for the detention of the employee of the Russian Embassy in Italy, but we hope that our constructive relations with this country will continue," Kremlin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said commenting on the spy scandal in Italy.
Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus made a prank call to the NED administration on behalf of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a former presidential candidate at the Belarus election