The UK MI5 chief in his yearly update on the threat to Great Britain stated that the expulsion of Russian spies has made a significant blow to the Kremlin.
According to Britain’s domestic intelligence director, the expulsion of more than 400 suspected Russian agents from various parts of Europe this year inflicted Moscow with its “most serious strategic blow” in recent history. He claims that this move caught Russian president Vladimir Putin off guard, Reuters reported.
According to McCallum, there have been many Russian officials deported from countries all around the world, including more than 600 from Europe. And more than 400 of them were found to be spies.
“This has struck the most significant strategic blow against the Russian Intelligence Services in recent European history,” he said in a speech at MI5’s London headquarters. “And together with coordinated waves of sanctions, the scale has taken Putin by surprise.”
The poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a nerve agent in Salisbury, southern England, in 2018 that resulted in a wave of diplomatic expulsions, the MI5 chief claimed, inspired Britain to establish a pattern for this kind of reaction.
Since then, more than 100 applications for Russian diplomatic visas have been denied by Britain due to national security concerns, according to him.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Great Britain has been one of the most reliable allies for Ukraine.
According to McCallum, Moscow’s “silly claims” that London was complicit in the September explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipelines highlight the significance of that support to Ukraine.
“The serious point is that the UK must be ready for Russian aggression for years to come,” the MI5 chief stated.