The newly appointed Russian ambassador to the Vatican, Ivan Soltanovsky, is an intelligence operative who was previously Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to NATO, believes ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius.
This is reported by LRT, as seen by RBC.
According to the NATO security officials, among Russian diplomats to NATO, there were those who work undercover, said Linkevičius, who at the time headed the Lithuanian delegation to the Alliance.
Soltanovsky’s career in NATO ended with the first wave of expulsions of Russian spies working under diplomatic cover.
“Some were directly told to leave Brussels because the headquarters is located there, while others were quietly offered to do so, and I think Ivan Soltanovskyi was among them,” Linkevičius noted.
Despite the fact that there is an unspoken rule that diplomats expelled from NATO are not accepted in any member country of the Alliance, in 2015 Soltanovsky was appointed as Russia’s permanent representative to the European Council in Strasbourg.
“He was well known in NATO and other countries as it would be difficult to remain unaware the specifics of his career,” said Linkevičius.
Lithuania’s security agency says it has no information about Soltanovsky, but emphasizes that over the past few years, Europe has expelled more than 400 Russian spies working under diplomatic cover.