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Half of 150,000 Russians Living in London Are Putin Spies Report Claims

The Telegraph reports:

Tens of thousands of Russian spies are living in Britain, a major report which has been endorsed by the former head of MI6 has warned.

A new study from the Henry Jackson Society thinktank said there were as many as 75,000 informants in London - half the 150,000 Russians who live in the capital - who are actively helping Moscow's secret service.

The study also warned of a huge increase of Russian case officers in the UK over the past eight years, with 200 officers handling an estimated 500 agents

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A more reasonable commentator observes:

We’re told, for instance, that ‘According to well-placed sources, Russia has as many as 200 case officers in the UK, handling upwards of 500 agents.’ But how well-placed are they? We don’t know. Besides, we’re also told that in the Cold War there were only 39 Soviet case officers operating in the UK, and that the Russian embassy in London nowadays is 56 strong. There’s also the Russian Trade Delegation and Rossotrudnichestvo, but even if every single Russian official in London is a spy, it’s hard to see where the 200 are going to come from. One feels that there’s some threat inflation going on here.

The report’s author, Andrew Foxall, notes that there are 150,000 Russians living in the UK. Up to half of these may be ‘informants’, he says. That’s 75,000 Russians consciously working for their country’s intelligence agencies, an extraordinary figure. This claim seems designed to blacken the reputation of an entire community. And yet Foxall produces no evidence to support it. If I was a Russian living in Britain, I’d be more than a little aggrieved.

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