In Rome, counterintelligence agencies have detained a high-ranking officer of the Italian fleet while passing secret information to an officer of the Russian embassy, ​​according to the claims by the newspaper La Repubblica.

The suspects were detained during the “documents exchange” on March 30th.

The operation was carried out after an investigation, in which the Italian Internal Information and Security Agency, a group of special operations of the Italian carabinieri, representatives of intelligence and the country’s defense headquarters took part.

“The detention took place during a secret meeting between them, both were detained red-handed immediately after the transfer of secret documents by an Italian officer in exchange for money. As a result, the Italian officer was arrested, while the position of a foreign citizen is still under consideration due to his diplomatic status, ”the Italian security officials said.

According to the Italian newspaper, the Italian officer agreed to cooperate and to provide classified information in exchange for money, “probably faced with serious family problems.”

After  the Italian Foreign Ministry announced that it is expelling two employees of the Russian Embassy.

It is not for the first time this month that a spy scandal with Russians erupted in Europe. On March 19, the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office reported that six employees of the Bulgarian Defense Ministry and military intelligence were detained on suspicion of spying for Russia. On March 22, the court ruled to place all the accused in custody.

It is very unusual that a high-ranking military officer, neglecting all the rules and common cautiousness, makes direct and open contact with an officer of a foreign state to pass secret data. This situation is extremely strange, and may only be explained by the extreme importance of the transmitted information, as an agent believes that the price of information exceeds at least the cost of his life. Now one can only guess what kind of information the Italian officer gave to the Russians. There are suggestions that this information could be related to the possible military aggression in Eastern Ukraine by Kiev expected in April or NATO’s activity in the Black Sea region, for example. It also should not be ruled out that the information may be related to the actions of some NATO member-states in Syria in the near future.