Some say, "Russian killing squad." In any case, there is a Russian clandestine military intelligence unit known as the 29155, and it is believed to behind a string of scandals – most recently, a reported scheme to pay bounties to Afghan insurgents to kill U.S. troops. So what exactly is the shadowy assemblage? It's like a mix of CIA and special forces," Matthew Schmidt, associate professor of national security at the University of New Haven, told Fox News. "It's trained to make mayhem.
Revelations of an alleged Russian intelligence operation to murder opponents and spread chaos across the European Union were met with a mix of wonder and derision in the intelligence community. Russia's decision to return to formalized violent operations in the West has "proven they can get to anyone," a source told Insider. But in many cases, the Russians' sloppy tradecraft has meant their "secret" operations are almost immediately noticed. Two current European intelligence officials described the scoop by the New York Times about a unit of Russian military intelligence, commonly called the GRU, tasked with murdering Russia's enemies in Europe and helping sow political and military chaos, as "credible." It's "confirmation of something we have long suspected: There is a plan," one told Insider.
In the summer of 2013, a killer in Moscow rode a bicycle toward his victim. The Russian businessman Albert Nazranov saw him, and a short brawl ensued. All of that can be seen in surveillance footage of the crime. In the summer of 2019, a killer also rode a bicycle toward his victim, only this time in Berlin. He shot Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, of Georgia, in the head and upper body at close range, before riding away. That's how witnesses described the scene. Reporting by DER SPIEGEL, Bellingcat, The Insider and The Dossier Center now reveals that not only were both murders very similar -- they were also likely carried out by the same person. A forensic comparison of both perpetrator photos reveals clear similarities. The man who carried a passport bearing the name Vadim Sokolov in Berlin was the Russian Vadim Krasikov, the killer who is thought to have also struck in Moscow.
The Czech Republic on Thursday ordered 63 more Russian diplomats to leave the country, further escalating a dispute between the two nations over the alleged involvement of Russian spies in a massive ammunition depot explosion in 2014. Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek said Russia won't be allowed to have more diplomats in Prague than the Czechs currently have at their embassy in Moscow. All others have to leave by the end of May, he said. The Czech secret services have repeatedly warned that Moscow had a disproportionately high number of diplomats at the embassy in the European Union nation, using it as a base for undercover spies. "I don't want to escalate anything," Kulhanek said.
Russia is now a "far greater threat" to the UK's national security than the Islamic State group, the head of the British army has said. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, General Mark Carleton-Smith said Britain "cannot be complacent about the threat Russia poses". "The Russians seek to exploit vulnerability and weakness wherever they detect it," he said. The UK blames Russia for the Salisbury poisoning and several cyber-attacks. In March, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal - who sold secrets to MI6 - and his daughter Yulia survived being poisoned with Novichok.