Foreign minister Luigi Di Maio on Wednesday deplored an Italian navy captain's alleged handing of sensitive documents to a Russian embassy official, saying that spying "is a very serious, hostile act".
"The passing classified documents by an Italian official to a member of Russia's armed forces with whom he shared a room is a very serious, hostile act over which we immediately took appropriate action," Di Maio stated to the Italian Senate.
Di Maio instructed foreign ministry director-general Elizabetta Belloni to summon Russia's ambassador (Sergey) Razov to the ministry on Wednesday to convey to him Italy's strong objections and to inform him of the expulsion of two Russian embassy officials, the minister recalled.
Carabinieri paramilitary police said earlier on Wednesday they had arrested the Italian navy captain on spying charges following a sting operation late on Tuesday ordered by Rome's public prosecutor's office.
The navy captain allegedly took photos of classified documents from his computer screen and saved the images on a pen-drive. The 5,000 euro bribe he purportedly received for passing the documents to the Russian official was hidden in boxes, Adnkronos has learned.