Italy expels two Russian officials over espionage case

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio is seen at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov (not pictured) after a meeting in Moscow, Russia, on October 14, 2020.

Rome (CNN)Italy is expelling two Russian officials in connection with an espionage case, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Wednesday on his Facebook page.

The expulsions followed the arrest Tuesday of an Italian navy captain and the detention of a Russian military officer who is stationed in Rome, both on charges of espionage.
The two men were "caught in flagrante and by surprise" and were arrested right after the Italian navy captain gave classified information to the Russian officer 'in exchange for money,'" the Carabinieri, or Italian paramilitary police, said in a press release.
    The Russian officer's position was being evaluated because of his diplomatic status, the press release said.
      Di Maio did not name the two people who were being expelled and it was not immediately clear who the second person concerned could be.
      The Italian Foreign Ministry has not yet responded to a request for comment from CNN on the identity of the two expelled officials.
      The Russian ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Rome on Wednesday morning, Di Maio said.
      "During the convocation of the Russian Ambassador to Italy at the Foreign Ministry, we let him know about the strong protest of the Italian Government and notified the immediate expulsion of the two Russian officials involved in this extremely grave affair," the minister's Facebook post said.
      "I thank our intelligence [services] and all of the state's apparatus that every day work for the security of our country."