Russian spying in Europe dealt ‘significant blow’ since Ukraine war, MI5 chief says


London
CNN

Russia’s spying ability in Europe has suffered “the most significant strategic damage” in recent history, following a concerted expulsion of diplomats after the invasion of Ukraine, with over a hundred diplomatic visa applications rejected in the UK alone in recent years, the official said. The United Kingdom’s security services, MI5.

Ken McCallum, the director general of MI5, said in an annual speech on the threat to the UK that 600 Russian officials had been expelled from Europe this year, including 400 of those his agency claimed were spies.

“We continue to work hard to make the UK the toughest operating environment for Russian covert action,” McCallum said. In the case of the UK, after we expelled 23 Russian spies as diplomats, we have refused more than 100 diplomatic visa applications on national security grounds… The bottom line is that the UK must be prepared for Russian attacks in the coming years.

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In comments after the speech, McCallum called the expulsion “a very big problem for the Russians to post all over Europe,” adding that because information about agents was shared among European allies, “it’s not easy for a Russian to cross a post.” A spy “was expelled from country A to country D.”

He added: “I hope it remains true that there is a very large amount of trained, experienced Russian intelligence talent, if I can use that word, that will be used for many years to come and most other parts of the world will be.” come on”

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He said the speech also showed the Iranian government’s “intention to abduct or kill individuals perceived as enemies of the British or UK-based regime”. He said there have been 10 “such accidents” in the UK since January alone.

In later comments, he characterized Iran as “ready to act recklessly” and a “sophisticated adversary.” “Sometimes their own operators have been doing operations by hand. In other cases, they chose to act on behalf of other people.

McCallum said terrorism remains an ongoing threat and eight “potentially fatal plots” were stopped last year. He estimated that three-quarters of these were linked to Islamic extremism and a quarter to far-right terrorism. He added that the latter extremism was on the rise among younger Britons, adding: “I think I remember with horror the youngest case … an individual who could pose some threat was 13 years old.” They declined to provide details.

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Among the government actors, China “poses the most game-changing strategic challenge for the United Kingdom.” “We see the Chinese authorities playing a long-term game of developing relationships to sway opinion in China’s favor – not only prominent members of parliament in the political arena, but also people in public life who want to facilitate their careers and influence, mandatory debt.”

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