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Trump security adviser meets Russian ministers in Moscow

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Donald Trump’s national security adviser is meeting Russia’s defence minister in Moscow just a few days after the US president announced that he intends to pull America out of a landmark nuclear weapons treaty.

Defence minister Sergei Shoigu lauded US National Security Adviser John Bolton over his two-day visit.

Russian news agencies quoted Mr Shoigu as saying that “even small steps will benefit our relations and help restore trust” between the two countries.

Mr Bolton arrived in Russia on Monday when he met Security Council chairman Nikolai Patrushev.

He is expected to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin later on Tuesday.

Mr Trump over the weekend declared his intention to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty because he claims Russia has violated it.

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Ex-Soviet leader Gorbachev warns Trump's plan to pull out of Russia nuclear treaty will undermine global disarmament

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Russia has 'more than five times as many spies in Britain now than it did during the Cold War'

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Russia has 'more than five times as many spies in Britain now than it did during the Cold War'

  • A report will reveal there are an estimated 200 intelligence officers in Britain 
  • The figures from the Henry Jackson Society report will be published next week  
  • Author of report Andrew Foxall said capital 'ill-equipped' to deal with espionage

By Bhvishya Patel For Mailonline

Published: 16:38 BST, 21 October 2018 | Updated: 10:47 BST, 22 October 2018

There are more than five times as many Russian intelligence officers now than there were during the Cold War, according to a report uncovered by Andrew Gilligan for The Sunday Times.

The findings come from a report to be published next week by the Henry Jackson Society think tank following their interviews with former intelligence officials.

The report will reveal that there are an estimated 200 spies in the UK and at least 500 agents providing information.  

The figures come amid an increasing fear of Russian infiltration and espionage in the country following the attempted murders of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March this year.

The report, authored by Dr Andrew Foxall uncovered an estimated 200 spies in the UK and at least 500 agents
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The report, authored by Dr Andrew Foxall uncovered an estimated 200 spies in the UK and at least 500 agents

The father and daughter, who were poisoned with a military grade Novichok nerve agent, were discovered unconscious on a bench in Salisbury on March 4 before rescue services were called to the scene.

Months later police were investigating a second case of Novichok poisoning after victims Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley were exposed to the nerve agent.    

Mother-of-three Mrs Sturgess, 44, died after her exposure to the lethal poison.  

Two Russian men, travelling under the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, were later charged for the poisoning in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Following the attempted murder of the former KGB spy Sergei Skripal, 23 suspected intelligence officers were expelled from the UK.

However the report will expose that about half of the 56 accredited Russian diplomats still in London are still believed to be involved in intelligence work.

It comes amid an increasing fear of Russian infiltration and espionage in the country following the attempted murders of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March this year
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It comes amid an increasing fear of Russian infiltration and espionage in the country following the attempted murders of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March this year

It will also unveil that there are several spies based at the Russian trade delegation office in Highgate and the Rossotrudnichestvo cultural centre in Kensington High Street. 

Author of the report Andrew Foxall said that the capital is 'ill-equipped' to deal with the worrying espionage figure and calls for the country to follow the steps similar to those in Estonia, according to The Sunday Times.

In Estonia an annual report is published naming those working for organisations with links to Russian intelligence. 

The concerning figure marks a significant rise to that recorded in 2010. 

In 2010 the MI5 had said the number of Russian intelligence officers in London was at the same level as in Soviet times.

On their website they had written: 'We estimate that at least 20 foreign intelligence services are currently operating in the UK against UK interests. The Russian and Chinese intelligence services are particularly active, and currently present the greatest concern.' 

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BOOK REVIEW: 'The Skripal Files' by Mark Urban

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

THE SKRIPAL FILES: THE LIFE AND NEAR DEATH OF A RUSSIAN SPY

By Mark Urban

Henry Holt and Company, $30, 310 pages

Speaking to reporters in December 2010, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that his spy agencies had assassination squads that targeted defectors. But he voiced an ominous warning. “Whatever thirty pieces of silver those people may have gotten, they will stick in their throat.”

Despite his shortcomings as a decent human, give Mr. Putin credit: He carries out his threats. Any person unfortunate enough to cross him is a step removed from the grave.

The civilized world was shocked in March when a defected Russian intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, were stricken with a mysterious poison in the quiet British town of Salisbury. They were in critical condition for weeks but survived. Scientific tests identified the poison involved as Novichok, developed by Russia for germ warfare. It had been smeared on the door knob of the Skripal home.

The attack matched earlier Russian murder operations, notably the poisoning death of defector Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

Mr. Skripal, a onetime Red Army airborne colonel, had shifted to the GRU, the military’s intelligence arm. Disillusioned with the Communist regime, he tried to resign, but was refused. (As Mr. Putin himself once said, “There is no such thing as an ex-KGB man.”

Assigned to Spain, Mr. Skripal contacted an officer of MI6, the British spy agency. As a defector-in-place, he gave MI6 intricate details of GRU world-wide operations.

Eventually his association with MI6 was revealed to the Soviets by a Spanish turncoat, one Roberto Flores. But Flores had scant solid evidence of his spying, thus Mr. Skripal was not summarily executed. Instead, after a sham trial in 2006, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

What saved Mr. Skripal from execution? Another Russian, Yuri Burlatov, a naval officer, had also been arrested in Spain. Under interrogation, in an apparent attempt at a bargain, he named high officers of the FSB (successor to the KGB) as siphoning off funds from a Russian “technological shopping spree.”

Burlatov charged that officers in the GRU Madrid headquarters were creating false invoices, with the pilfered stolen proceeds being shared up the line of command.

The official ultimately responsible for the corruption was Gen. Nikolai Patrushev, the FSB director and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. (He is now general secretary of the Russian security council.)

Burlatov’s bargaining failed. He was found dead, a claimed “suicide” by self-strangulation. That several of his fingers had been cut off suggested otherwise. The death was a grisly warning of the dangers of offending Mr. Putin’s inner circle.

Mr. Skripal has resigned himself to dying in prison. Then, in 2006, a stroke of luck. An FBI counterintelligence operation broke a ring of deep-cover Russian agents, including couples living in Washington, New York and Boston. Posing as American citizens, their mission was to build careers in banking, government and other institutions. The FBI busted the scheme before they succeeded.

In a spy swap, Mr. Skripal was one of the prisoners the Soviets picked for release. He chose to live in England, and MI6 settled him and his daughter in Salisbury.

Several other resettled spies had spoken out publicly against Mr. Putin and his plutocrat cronies. Such criticism was widely cited as the reason Litvinenko was murdered. Mr. Skripal’s earlier silence on the GRU corruption was apparently taken as a sign that he would not be a whistle-blower.

And indeed Mr. Skripal initially remained silent, with he and his daughter blending in with neighbors. Nonetheless, MI6 permitted him to have long interviews with Mark Urban, longtime national security correspondent for BBC, and the author of 11 earlier books on military and intelligence.

Mr. Urban’s plan was for a book on intelligence during the Cold War. Mr. Skripal happily recounted in detail his work for the GRU, and he also revealed several bombshells, including a short-lived military plot to assassinate Mr. Putin. He also told Mr. Urban about the corruption in the FSB high command.

Did the Russians become aware of the tell-all nature of Mr. Skripal’s interviews? Mr. Urban does not address that question in his book.

Given Russia’s past reputation for tracking down and killing talkative defectors, the British government early on accused Moscow of ordering the poison attacks — denied, of course, by Mr. Putin. The British had street videos of the perpetrators but no proof of their identity.

Nonetheless, Britain and allies (including the United States) expelled some 160 Soviet spies from embassies, which Mr. Urban terms “a global action larger than any other Cold War move against Soviet or Russian espionage networks.”

But Mr. Urban’s book benefited from an appropriate sequel. The week it was published in London, a fledgling investigative website named <a href="http://BellingCat.com" rel="nofollow">BellingCat.com</a> used the street surveillance videos to identify two Russian intelligence officers. One listed a Moscow home address that is the same as the GRU headquarters.

The named Russian would-be assassins claimed innocence, saying they visited Salisbury to admire a Gothic cathedral. Believe them if you wish: The evidence seems otherwise.

• Joseph C. Goulden writes frequently on intelligence and military affairs.

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Lindsey Graham would continue Justice Department-FBI probe as Judiciary Committee chairman

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Global Security News: 11:29 AM 10/20/2018 – Salisbury Poisoning Updates – chemical weapons in Syria – Newest security worry: Trump without Mattis – Politico: “Mattis is widely expected to depart his post sometime after the November elections, according to multiple Pentagon and administration officials with knowledge of personnel discussions. And that’s fueling anxiety among officials of both parties who have viewed him for almost two years as a force for stability.”

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ departure from President Donald Trump’s inner circle would also come at a time when much of the top military leadership is looking to retire. | Pablo Martinez Monsivais/pool/AP Photo – “Mattis is widely expected to depart his post sometime after the November elections, according to multiple Pentagon and administration officials with … Continue reading "11:29 AM 10/20/2018 – Salisbury Poisoning Updates – chemical weapons in Syria – Newest security worry: Trump without Mattis – Politico: “Mattis is widely expected to depart his post sometime after the November elections, according to multiple Pentagon and administration officials with knowledge of personnel discussions. And that’s fueling anxiety among officials of both parties who have viewed him for almost two years as a force for stability.”"

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Germany AND Novichok - Google News: Saudi admission on Khashoggi's death won't touch 'reformist' crown prince - CNN

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CNN

Saudi admission on Khashoggi's death won't touch 'reformist' crown prince
CNN
The UK, Germany, France and the European Union have demanded the Saudis conduct a credible investigation and take part in Turkey's probe over what happened. .... when the UK is reshaping it's foreign policy and the role it would like to play on the ...

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Germany AND Novichok - Google News
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