The antennas on the roofs of the Russian embassies which

The antennas on the roofs of the Russian embassies, which “serve to spy on European countries”

Chimneys, pitched or flat roofs like a terrace, red bricks, more elegant architecture. In between, a sea of ​​antennas: small, large, parabolic, others invisible in containers, others camouflaged somewhere.

According to an investigation by a group of northern European newspapers, this “forest” is part of Russian espionage activity using embassies but also less identifiable buildings across Europe and the rest of the world.

The Espiomats investigation returns to a well-known trend, that of electronic intelligence. At the time of Edward Snowden’s revelations, the American NSA was accused for the same reason: the facilities in diplomatic missions served to monitor the allies themselves. Today, with the war in Ukraine, Moscow’s secret services are under surveillance.

Everyone knows what is happening and for how long, but now it will be told in more detail. Using drones, video, photos and good sources, 182 “antennas” were surveyed, with a massive presence at Russia’s diplomatic headquarters in Brussels, where they numbered as many as 17. Belgium – home to many institutions starting with NATO – is a big target.

The list includes the capitals of 39 European and non-European countries: Sofia, Prague, Belgrade, Lisbon, Madrid, Nicosia, Berlin, Paris, Valletta and others, but there are antennas – which were not examined in the research – even on the roof of the embassy in Rome. The devices have a “legitimate” authority, they are used to ensure connections between diplomats and the ministry. Official reasons, accessories, needs that are – let’s say – work-related. There’s actually a lot more.

Experts have identified systems that guarantee an “encrypted” dialogue with certainty. But others are emerging that can intercept communications, cell phones and satellite phones. Depth is difficult to gauge, but still a valuable target that doesn’t rule out more plays. The «Russians know that the westerners know», they can take countermeasures and countermeasures. To steal data while countering Allied surveillance. The arena is the usual, the challenge of shield and spear but also the game of cat and mouse. An aerial reconnaissance can detect the suspicious “disk” on top of a building, a component, an anomalous presence. And then it is possible that alternative solutions will be explored to evade the controls. An infinite field.

For years there has been speculation about a house in front of the Russian embassy in Washington. A probable FBI station, complete with a camera behind a window curtain to record who entered and who left. If you looked around, it looked almost uninhabited. In the 1980s, Operation Monopoly was launched, the construction of a tunnel that would lead to the Moscow representation to be able to overhear conversations: the construction of the tunnel, which cost a fortune, encountered many problems and, according to many versions, the knew Russians from them. They had probably been warned by Robert Hanssen, a senior FBI executive who worked for the “Soviets”. The mole who fooled the moles. More recently, among the many theses in the Havana Syndrome saga – the malaise of 007 and American diplomats – a possible side effect with radiations emitted by electronic devices or by “machines” for recording conversations was considered. Dissertation later rejected.

The background to this “theater†is the Ukraine crisis. After the invasion, the alliance expelled around 400 Russian officials suspected of being spies. In addition, many illegal immigrants have been identified. Attention has grown, ties have been tightened to make life difficult for opponents, an information war has begun that has revealed much about the two “agencies” FSB and Gru involved in the fight. The Kremlin tried to defend itself with its “batteries”. As on Ukraine’s eastern front, there is no respite here.

The Espiomats investigation was carried out by Holger Roonemaa (Delphi, Estonia), Lars Bové, Raphael Cockx (De Tijd, Belgium), Mattias Carlsson (Expressen, Sweden), Anastasiia Morozova (Frontstory, Poland), Tomas Madlenak, Lukas Diko (Icjk , Slovakia), Indre Makaraityte (Lrt, Lithuania), Anna Gielewska, Szabolcs Panyi (VSquare), Dossier Center (UK).