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Russia’s Lavrov lashes out at Norway arrest of suspected spy

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia, center, listen as American President Donald Trump addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is slamming Norway for arresting a Russian parliamentary official suspected of spying.

Lavrov called the espionage accusations “propaganda” and said “we want to understand what happened with our citizen.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Lavrov said Tuesday, “Do you realize he was invited by the Norwegian parliament? Norwegian hospitality.”

Mikhail Bochkarev was arrested Friday while attending a conference on strengthening cooperation between Europe’s parliamentary administrations. Moscow strongly denied the charges, calling it an example of “spy mania around Russia” and demanded his release.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said the case wasn’t political. Norwegian media reported that the man is a Russian parliamentary IT adviser whose behavior at the two-day conference prompted parliamentary officials to contact the intelligence service.

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