Authorities have expelled two Russian diplomats amid an alleged espionage case over which ambassador Sergey Razov was summoned to the foreign ministry on Wednesday, foreign minister Luigi Di Maio stated.
"During the Russian envoy's meeting at the ministry we conveyed to him the Italian government's strong objections and notified him of the immediate expulsion of the two Russian officials involved in this very serious matter," Di Maio wrote on Facebook.
Carabinieri paramilitary police earlier on Wednesday said they arrested an Italian naval officer for allegedly receiving payment from a Russian embassy official for handing over classified documents.
The Russian official, a member of his country's armed forces stationed at the Russian embassy, was held pending assessment of his diplomatic status, the Carabinieri statement said.
The are suspects accused of “serious crimes concerning espionage and state security," according to the statement.