New Cold War fears as UK has more Russian spies than under Stalin


More Russian spies are operating in the UK today than at any time during the Cold War, sources say.

Spies believe as many as 300 Kremlin agents are trying to steal state secrets – some of British nationality.

They say it’s even more than during the Cold War, which began in the 1940s under the brutal Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

Some espionage operations are carried out by Russian Embassy staff, but many others are carried out by civilians with no direct connection to the Kremlin.

An intelligence source said: “Russia views the UK as a soft touch.

“Russian intelligence agents have carried out assassinations on British soil, used nerve agents to poison people and endangered the lives of thousands.

Vladimir Putin continues to test the limits of the West

“The Kremlin also orchestrates daily cyber warfare attacks. “

Last October, MI5 chief Ken McCallum said the espionage threats posed by China and Russia to the UK “are increasingly serious and complex.”

And last week, relations between the UK and Russia hit a new low when the destroyer HMS Defender was nearly drawn into combat with Russian warships and jets in the Black Sea.

Russia said one of its ships fired warning shots as fighter jets dropped bombs nearby.

British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender arrives in Black Sea port of Batumi on June 26
British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender arrives in Black Sea port of Batumi on June 26

The Defense Ministry denied this and said the British ship was in international waters.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to bomb our ships if there was another confrontation.

Former naval chief Lord West said Russia’s actions would have led to a war before nuclear weapons.

He added: “Putin has been incredibly reckless and stupid. Next time there could be a mistake and someone could be killed and the situation would become much more serious. “

Colonel Richard Kemp, a former army chief, warned that Putin would not hesitate to attack our ships in the future if they entered waters they considered theirs.

He said: “Authoritarian regimes are not subject to the same limitations and constraints as us and it would be a mistake to assess their potential response according to our own logic or our own standards.

MI5 Director General Ken McCallum
MI5 Director General Ken McCallum

“If the prime minister thinks it is necessary to provoke Chinese and Russian forces with freedom of navigation patrols, he should do so.

“But the Royal Navy had better be prepared to retaliate with more force if attacked. The last thing we need is to end up turning around and running away under the fire.

“I hope the Prime Minister and his admirals have thought about this with the worst case scenarios in mind.”

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