The expulsion of more than 400 alleged Russian spies from Europe this year has dealt Moscow the ‘biggest serious strategic setback’ in recent history, according to Britain’s domestic intelligence head.
In his annual report on the threat to the United Kingdom, Security Service (MI5) Director General Ken McCallum reiterated warnings about Chinese efforts to influence lawmakers and public figures, as well as Beijing’s efforts to monitor and harass the Chinese diaspora.
McCallum stated that a large number of Russian officials had been removed from countries around the world, including over 600 from Europe, more than 400 of whom were deemed to be spies.
‘This has dealt the greatest major strategic blow against Russian Intelligence Services in recent European history,’ he declared on Wednesday at MI5’s London headquarters. ‘And the scale, along with coordinated waves of penalties, has taken (Russian President) Putin by surprise.’