Slovenia suspects Russia sending spies as students 

Slovenian officials believe that, unable to use traditional intelligence channels, Russia has resorted to sending operatives disguised as students to fill the gap.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the wave of Russian students arriving in Slovenia coincided with the mass expulsion of diplomatic personnel from Europe over espionage allegations. 

This suspicion aligns with a broader pattern observed across Europe, where diplomatic expulsions have forced Russia to find alternative methods for intelligence gathering.

Many of these so-called students are significantly older than typical university attendees, with ages ranging from 40 to 50. This demographic anomaly has further fueled suspicions that they might be involved in activities other than academic pursuits.

Slovenian government’s measures against Russian agents 

In March 2024, Slovenia deported at least eight Russian students for spreading pro-Russian propaganda. This action was part of a broader effort to curb potential espionage activities within the country.

Additionally, in late 2022, Slovenian authorities detained Artem and Anna Dulcev, officers of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), who had been posing as Argentine citizens. 

The couple had established their presence in Slovenia well before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but their activities drew the attention of Slovenian intelligence services following the invasion on February 24, 2022.

According to reports, the Dulcevs were involved in espionage against the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators. Their arrest led to charges that could result in up to eight years in prison, with the couple already spending 18 months in detention.

Measures against Russian spies in Europe 

These cases underscore the necessity for European countries to enhance their security measures and scrutinize seemingly unusual arrivals that might conceal hostile intentions. 

It also illustrates the broader context of Russia’s continuous efforts to gather intelligence in strategic regions, even as it faces international isolation and sanctions.

As the international community continues to navigate these challenges, the importance of cooperation and intelligence sharing among allied nations becomes increasingly evident, ensuring a united front against any attempts to undermine sovereignty and stability.

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