Russia’s top envoy to the EU may be a spy – Spiegel

German media suggest that the head of Russia’s mission to the EU, Kirill Logvinov, based in Brussels, is probably a spy under diplomatic cover.

The German media SPIEGEL published an article based on the results of a study with partner organisations.

Logvinov’s case is part of a broader study by Espiomats journalists on possible Russian spies in the EU operating under diplomatic cover.

In addition to SPIEGEL, the Belgian outlet De Tijd, Swedish Expressen, Estonian Delfi, Lithuanian broadcaster LRT, Polish VSquare and Frontstory, Russian-exiled Centre Dossier and Slovakian ICJK are working on this project.

Kirill Logvinov, 48, has been accredited as a diplomat at the Permanent Mission of Russia in Brussels since 2018. Since Russia’s last ambassador to the EU left the post about a year ago, Logvinov has become the de facto head of the mission.

In 2010-2014, he worked at the Russian embassy in Berlin, when he was not suspected of being a possible spy.

According to journalists, Belgian security agencies suspect Logvinov is working for the SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service.

Read also: Russia’s military unit 54777, disinformation and psychological operations abroad

Belgium does not rule out the possibility that some other Russian mission employees may also be secretly working against the interests of the European Union. Security sources did not want to comment on what kind of activities they were referring to. They declined to comment directly on Logvinov in Belgium.

Suspicions against Logvinov emerged last year and were probably first mentioned in an EU Observer article about the activities of alleged Russian agents. At the time, Logvinov was not yet the actual head of the mission. After the publication, the parliament launched an investigation into possible links between Logvinov and European Commission staff, while the EC denied that such contacts existed.

The EU Observer’s article identified various profiles of Russian spies, expelled from the EU: IT expert who whipped up anti-EU hatred, a researcher in Oriental studies, an activist nicknamed “the pride” of Dagestan, and chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons experts. The profiles of 19 Russian ‘diplomats’ accused of espionage and expelled from Belgium in April 2023 analysed in the article suggest that Russian officials in the EU have been conducting secret operations not linked to their primary duties.

The question of what to do with this Russian diplomat has allegedly long been a concern for European diplomatic circles and intelligence services. Belgian counter-intelligence reportedly called for his expulsion, but the European External Action Service (EEAS) opposed it, possibly fearing the consequences for its diplomats in Russia.

Read also: Germany is worried about the scale of Russian disinformation

At the request of the study’s co-authors, European Parliament Vice-President Martin Hojsík expressed surprise that Logvinov had not yet been expelled. “If Belgian security agencies have recommended his expulsion, I am very curious why the EEAS has not done so,” the official said.

The European External Action Service said it does not comment on individuals accredited as diplomats. Still, in general, the threat of espionage is constantly monitored in close coordination with the relevant structures.

Logvinov himself and the Russian Mission to the EU ignored the request from the consortium of journalists, the media reported.

On his Twitter account, he often shares tweets and stories that fit Russian propaganda, denies the legitimacy of the EU sanctions against Russia for its war, and voices against Europe’s support for Ukraine.

Read also: Russian propaganda efforts against weapons supply to Ukraine leverage reports in the West

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