NYT: “A russian secret unit has tried to organize assassination and destabilization operations in Europe
European security officials have identified a secret russian spy unit that has attempted to organize assasinations and destabilization operations, in several European countries, according to a news release published by the American newspaper The New York Times.
The information was denied on October 9 by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said that it was a pure invention, and that Moscow is in no way interested in destabilizing European countries. The New York Times reported on October 8 that although european officials have identified the unit in recent months, it has probably been undercover for at least ten years.
Unit 29155 is based in Moscow and is part of the Information Agency of the Russian Ministry of Defense, known as GRU.
“I think we forgot how tough the russians can be,” says Peter Zwack, a former intelligence officer and military attaché at the US Embassy in Moscow, who claims he was unaware of the existence of this russian service unit.
Several western security officials believe the unit has pursued two attempts to assassinate bulgarian arms dealer Emilan Gebrev in 2015, an attempted coup in Montenegro in 2016, which also included an attempt to assassinate Prime Minister Milo Djukanovici, and the attempted assassination of former GRU officer, Serghei Skripal, in Salisbury, England, in 2018. Over 20 countries, including the United States, expelled 150 russian diplomats.
Although they were confident that these incidents were organized by russian security forces, western officials believe now that they were organized by a single military intelligence unit in Russia.
Alex Younger, director of the British Foreign Intelligence Service (MI6), warned in February that Russia is creating increasing risks. “There are coordinated activities and the same people are involved. We believe there is a clear threat from the GRU and other russian secret agencies ”, said Alex Younger.