Suspected Arctic spy researcher José (37) is GRU-linked Mikhail (44)

José Assis Giammaria is seen here while door knocking for Sean Devine, an NDP candidate for the federal electoral district of Nepean in Ontario in 2015. Giammaria, who graduated from the University of Calgary in 2018, has been detained by Norway’s domestic security agency on suspicions of being a Russian spy. (Twitter)

Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) har charged Mikhail Mikushin with gathering illegal intelligence while working under fake identity at UiT Arctic University of Norway.

The suspected man said he was Brazilian. At the University in Tromsø, he worked for free with a research group named Grey Zone, focusing on hybrid threats and warfare. The university has now removed his name from the group of 33 listed Norwegian and international researchers on the project.

Also while staying in Canada, the man’s academic research focused on Arctic security. He graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa with a bachelor in political science, before he moved on to the University of Calgary.

It was the Oslo-based newspaper VG together with investigative journalist network Bellingcat that revealed the man’s link to Russia’s military intelligence, the GRU.

Before he changed his name to José Assis Giammaria and got a new fake identity in Brazil, Mikhail Mikushin was registered at the address of the GRU academy in Moscow. He left Russia in 2006 but went back several times, like in June 2015 when his Russian driver’s license was renewed, the Bellingcat insights could tell.

Bellingcat believes he at least holds the rank of Colonel with Russia’s military intelligence.

On Friday, the Police Security Service in Oslo charged Mikhail Mikushin with gathering illegal intelligence linked to state secrets. His claim to be Brazilian, when in reality is Russian, is part of the charges.

Mikushin’s Norwegian lawyer, Marijana Lozic, said to VG that the suspect maintains he has not committed any crime. The court on Friday placed Mikusin in custody for four weeks.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canada’s North spared from national military staff shortages, CBC News

Faroe Islands: Faroe Islands’ Arctic strategy focuses on security, climate & cooperation, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: No return to pre-war reality when it comes to Arctic cooperation, says Finnish rep, Eye on the Arctic

Greenland: Greenland, Iceland sign cooperation agreement in Reykjavik, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Canada’s GG among keynote speakers at Arctic Circle Assembly, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Hybrid threat researcher detained in Tromsø on suspicion of being Russian agent, Thomson Reuters

Russia: Newly deployed nuke-bombers at Kola is certainly a signalling, expert says, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: China, Russia among global priorities, including in Arctic, in U.S. security strategy, Eye on the Arctic

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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