The British intelligence service, MI5, has warned its government that Russia has resumed Cold War spying tactics in Britain, The Daily Telegraph wrote Sunday.
The Security Service, which is responsible for counter-espionage within Britain, circulated the confidential document last month in response to an increase in the activities of Russian intelligence agents.
The document warns that Russian spies are traveling widely throughout Britain and pose a “substantial” espionage threat. The document also warns that any suspected spies should not be stopped, questioned or followed but that their activities should be reported to Special Branch officers and passed on to MI5.
The suspected spies — who include about 30 accredited Russian diplomats — are said to be attempting to obtain secret information about Britain’s military capabilities and its defense industry. It is believed that they are also interested in the activities of Chechen asylum seekers and their associates.
“We are aware that Russian intelligence officers travel widely throughout the UK and that some of the activity undertaken by these officers is intelligence related. The Russian Federation Intelligence Services are assessed to pose a SUBSTANTIAL espionage threat to the UK,” MI5 said in its memo.
The Russian spying network in Britain is run by the SVR, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, which partly replaced the former KGB, and the GRU, the military intelligence organization. The SVR is believed to have about 18 offices in Britain while the GRU is said to have 14 — all in the guise of official Russian organizations, with diplomatic status.
Russia has a vast military export industry and supplies weapons to China, India, parts of South America and many Arab countries in the Middle East.
In 1971, at the height of the Cold War, 105 suspected KGB agents were expelled from Britain.
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