Russia.  Le Monde: Moscow is trying to reactivate spy networks in Europe

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of this year, French intelligence has discovered several agents of the Russian secret military service using new covers to hide from Western surveillance, Le Monde wrote, describing Moscow’s efforts to reactivate Russian spy networks in Europe.

This summer, French intelligence services blocked the attempt to transfer Russian military intelligence officer Alexander Colagin into the country, Le Monde reported on Friday.

Moreover, according to the newspaper, a citizen Russia Julia Szyfmanowicz tried to get a French visa in the summer, but the consular services asked French law enforcement agencies to check her details, and ordered the woman to be refused a visa. As Le Monde learned, the decision was due to the fact that Szyfmanowicz was on the radar of French intelligence.

Read also: The “heart” of espionage activity. Dozens of its officers are active in Russia’s outposts.

The newspaper reported that she had previously accompanied Alexander Colagin, an officer in the GRU 29155 unit specialized in sabotage operations abroad. It is the place where, according to the results of the Bellingcat investigation portal, “Petrov” and “Boszirow”, that is, Anatoly Chepiga and Alexander Myshkin, participated in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former officer of the Russian Military Intelligence in Salisbury in Great Britain, and his daughter Julia.

Later, Russian television gave an interview to the two men claiming that they had come to Salisbury as a tourist and wished to see the “famous cathedral” there.

Le Monde: There are indications that the GRU is using new types of covers

According to Le Monde, during the investigation into the Salisbury attack in 2019, intelligence services discovered the base of Unit 29155 in the French Alps, and French, British and Swiss services participated in the operation. They managed to compile a list of 15 GRU officers who used the base. Kułagin, Comrade Szyfmanowicz, was on the list.

Thus, Szyfmanowicz’s visa application indicates that Unit 29155 is still operating and that the GRU is now using new types of coverings, choosing women or young men as agents to conceal them more easily from Western services, the French newspaper assessed.

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