Sunday, 21 December, 2008

Russia unmasked 150 spies

MOSCOW, Dec 18

RUSSIAN counter-intelligence claimed to have unmasked nearly 150 spies in 2008, including a network operating on behalf of ex-Soviet Georgia, said the head of the FSB Federal Security Service.

"Activities of 48 staff officers of foreign intelligence services have been stopped, as well as actions of 101 local agents of foreign special services," Alexander Bortnikov told Russian media. He said six foreign staff officers and three agents had been "caught red-handed", and nine foreigners accused of spying had been expelled.

The FSB, a target of public criticism in 1990s, has seen resurgence under ex-President Vladimir Putin, an ex-KGB spy whose two terms as Kremlin chief ended this year.

Bortnikov said the FSB had uncovered a network of agents of the Georgian special services in Russia. He said a Georgian citizen suspected of being one of the organisers had been arrested. Five Russian citizens, suspected to be members of the ring, had been charged with high treason.


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