War A year later the EU continues to be spied

War. A year later, the EU continues to be spied on. And the hunt for the “Russian fox” is back

In war, the bills almost never add up. From the exact number of dead soldiers on both fronts to the destroyed weapon parts and the list of prisoners. Disinformation is not just a propaganda weapon. Sometimes it’s the bait of spies to catch traitors. The last was arrested in Frankfurt at the end of January. A German secret agent based in the US but on the payroll of Moscow. Twelve months of conflict are also twelve months of parallel hunting for Putin’s moles. So far, 400 Moscow embassy officials have been expelled, mostly by European governments, 30 in Italy alone, on the orders of then Prime Minister Mario Draghi. There are also unfaithful officials, including Italians, and infiltrators in international institutions such as the criminal court in The Hague. A dense network of double agents and saboteurs that emerges from the operations of Western intelligence agencies and was established long before the war. Ever since it was formed thanks to the Neapolitan mercenary of Spanish origin Giuseppe De Ribas, who founded the Black Sea city as we know it today in 1794, Odessa, with its multitude of ethnicities, cultures, religions and travellers, has been a crossroads of artisans and merchants, also from news. And it is no coincidence that since the beginning of the war, large numbers of “saboteurs” have been arrested and brought to justice.

Sometimes intentionally false information is enough to trigger the trap. Like when a Russian missile falls on an abandoned farmhouse in the great outdoors. A false target that is disclosed to a suspected traitor, who leaks the leads to Moscow, believing that men and military vehicles are really hiding there and that thanks to these leaks, he can continue to get rich. But when the attack is launched, there will be no doubt as to who provided the coordinates. One of them is the 52-year-old German Carsten Linke. His former colleagues from the Berlin secret service and the Americans from the CIA accuse him of having disclosed to Russia the storage and launching sites of the Himar missiles sent by the USA to Kiev. A kind of rocket that is easy to move, sometimes on board vans and minivans precisely because of the dimensions suitable for transport along unexpected paths. But if it were more difficult to indicate the exact launch positions, then, on the contrary, it was less complicated to identify and report the secret depots, the location of which indicates the areas of upcoming use, which allowed Moscow to deduce the trajectories of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. Linke would have pocketed a lot of dollars. His intelligence background gave him access to “top secret” information from German colleagues and, through them, from the countries supporting the armed defense of Kiev. He wasn’t the only one playing the double agent game. Arthur Eller, his 31-year-old accomplice, was instead stopped by the FBI on a flight from Miami to Munich. For Putin’s men who served as secret agents in East Berlin, Germany is more than a strategic obsession. Because the fate of the aggression against Ukraine depends heavily on German decisions and also on the London-Berlin axis. In the kingdom’s capital, the Russian spies, among their paid informants, had sentenced David Ballantyne Smith, 58, to 13 years and 2 months in prison for making himself available to the Russian paymasters. From being a veteran of the RAF, the Royal Air Force, he had risen to become the guardian of the German embassy in Great Britain.

But the Kremlin’s eyes and ears reached as far as the International Criminal Court, which immediately launched an investigation into Russian war crimes. The GRU, the powerful military intelligence service, had infiltrated Sergei Vladimirovich Cherkasov, who had been accepted as an intern in The Hague with a false identity and a Brazilian passport.

According to some overly optimistic analyzes by Western law firms, Vladimir Putin, despite his past as a KGB spy, did not foresee that the war on the ground would be unleashed by the largest “Russian foxhunt” since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Moscow has responded by multiplying cyber-espionage operations, often using the flow of refugees to smuggle spies into Europe or move agents from one place to another. Among the expelled Ukrainians would be saboteurs trained by the FSB and the GRU, the two post-Soviet secret services.

Moscow’s interest in Italy never stopped. Aise and Aisi, our country’s two secret services, continue to search inside and outside the home and have never stopped searching for traces of the Kremlin, sent amid the pandemic, in agreement with the Conte government, among the ‘other three female scientists,’ on which the Aise, the foreign secret service, still harbors more than one doubt. Italian intelligence sources confirm to Avvenire that these events are not over and that the war in Ukraine certainly did not cause them to be closed. As illustrated by the case of Walter Biot, the naval officer arrested after the first month of the conflict and accused of repeatedly leaking a number of NATO secrets to a Russian diplomat in exchange for cash. A war of spies that is also a psychological war. Especially when, like last night, 4 Russian Kalibr missiles crashed on the Odessa region and pierced the warning system, which did not raise an alarm. Two missiles were reportedly intercepted before impact, but the others hit military posts in the area. Thanks too accurate information.