Foreign, Spy | European countries are hunting Russian spies
A number of revelations in recent years have shown that Europe’s fear of centrally located Russian spies has been well-founded, and with the war in Ukraine, the hunt for them has stepped up.
Earlier this month, two Iranian-born brothers in Sweden, Peyman (42) and Payam Kia (35), were found guilty of spying for Russia’s military intelligence service GRU.
Peyman Kia was previously employed in the Swedish Security Police (Säpo) and was then given a highly trusted position in Sweden’s Military Intelligence and Security Service (Must). There he was associated with the most secret department The office for special collection (KSI), which, among other things, handles agents abroad.
Ever since 2011, he and his younger brother supplied the GRU with top secret information for a fee, and the sentence was life imprisonment. Payam Kia was sentenced to just under ten years in prison. Both pleaded not guilty.
Top Russian spy caught in Berlin
Sweden is not the only country in Europe that has uncovered centrally located Russian spies in its own ranks recently. In December, German police arrested a suspected double agent in the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the country’s foreign intelligence service.
German media identify him as Carsten L., and according to the country’s attorney general, he has «transferred information, which he has obtained to weigh through his professional activity, to the Russian intelligence service».
A month earlier, a 66-year-old reserve officer in the German defense was found guilty of spying for Russia, not for money, but for ideological reasons. Ralf G. confessed during interrogation and escaped with a suspended prison sentence.
Just a few days ago, German police arrested a suspected Russian spy, Arthur E. who also has the job for the BND and who must have collaborated with Carsten L.
PST must be where the threat actors are
Last March, a captain on the staff of Italy’s chief of defense was arrested in a parking lot on the outskirts of Rome. Then he was in the process of handing over a commemorative stick to a Russian military attaché. On it turned out to be pictures of 181 classified documents, 47 of them classified NATO documents and nine labeled top secret.
Walter Biot was allegedly promised just over 50,000 kroner for the documents. His wife told in an interview with newspaper Corriere della Sera that the family was mired in debt and in desperate need of money.
Spy case shakes the Swedes: The arrest in a dramatic police operation
In Britain, a 58-year-old security guard at the country’s embassy in Berlin admitted last autumn to having supplied Russian intelligence with classified information for almost a year.
David Smith confessed to the interrogation of the film’s embassy security systems and also provided the Russian contact with detailed information about everything that worked there, including British intelligence personnel. He risks up to 14 years in prison.
The spy case in Stockholm: Russian couple arrested after ten years
The security service in Bulgaria rolled out in March 2021 opp en Russian spy ring.
A former high-ranking officer in the country’s military intelligence service was designated as the leader, and five former and current officers in the Bulgarian defense must have given the GRU classified information, including about Nato.
Iranian-born brothers in Sweden deny having spied for the GRU
In 2020, a retired colonel in Austria was found guilty of having spied for 25 years for the GRU.
According to the verdict, the 73-year-old received close to DKK 3 million and told in questioning that Russia wanted information on everything from European weapons systems to the migrant crisis in Europe.
Due to his advanced age, he was spared three years in prison.
Expert on the spy case: Hard blow to Russian intelligence
In 2018, one official in Poland’s energy department arrested and accused of spying for Russia. The man was found guilty, among other things, of having given Russian intelligence secret documents about the country’s views on the Nord Stream-2 pipeline and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Last year, Poland also arrested five men who are accused of having given the GRU information both about Polish military targets and NATO forces and installations in the country. Two of those arrested were Russian citizens, and three came from Belarus.
The year before, a Hungarian member of the EU Parliament, Bela Kovacs , accused of spying for Russia. Kovacs belonged to the far-right Jobbik party and had previously studied and worked in Russia.
A Hungarian court found him guilty of providing Russian intelligence with classified information from the EU and sentenced him last September to five years in prison in absentia. He is believed to be in Moscow.
A former member of the National Assembly of Moldova, Iurie Bolboceanu, was apprehended in March 2017 and the following year sentenced to 14 years in prison after being found guilty of spying for Russia.
According to the verdict, Bolboceanu was recruited by the GRU in 2016 and handed over classified information to Russia’s military attaché in the country.
In Latvia, Aleksandrs Krasnopjorovs was arrested in 2016 and accused of monitoring Nato soldiers and weapons shipments.
Krasnopjorovs, a former Soviet soldier who served in Afghanistan, handed the material over to contacts in Russia. He was found guilty of espionage and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Last year, another Latvian became Valentin Frolov’s , found guilty of spying for Russia and sentenced to five years in prison. He too spied against Nato targets in the country.
One last year, a Russian chemist was sentenced to three years in prison in Denmark after being found guilty of many years of espionage against Danish research environments and technology companies.
Among other things, the man spied against the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and a technology company in Jutland on behalf of Russian intelligence, something he denied during the trial.
The espionage charge in Tromsø makes international headlines
The police security service in Norway established last spring that the intelligence threat from Russia increased as a result of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
– Arms exports from Norway to Ukraine are a direct military contribution to Russia’s adversary in the war. Consider contributions of obvious interest to Russian intelligence services, beat PST quickly.
Seven months later, the police arrested a guest lecturer at the University of Tromsø and charged him with espionage for the benefit of Russia.
The man, who researched hybrid threats, posed as a 37-year-old Brazilian, but PST believes that he is actually 44-year-old Russian GRU agent Mikhail Valeryevich Mikushin.
PST on the spy charge: – Has a Russian identity