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Russian espionage suspected in Slovenia amid influx of students

Russian espionage suspected in Slovenia amid influx of students Photo: Russia massively sends spies to Slovenia under the guise of "students" (RBC-Ukraine collage)

Slovenian authorities suspect that Russia is sending spies to their country under the guise of a massive influx of adult students, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The unusual influx of students from Russia to Slovenian universities began two years ago. It coincided with the mass expulsion of diplomatic staff from Europe suspected of espionage.

Therefore, the Slovenian authorities believe that after this step, Russia was unable to use former channels to send spies to Europe. Consequently, the Kremlin decided to compensate for the lack of its spies in Slovenia by sending "students" to the country, many of whom are 40-50 years old.

In March, the Slovenian government decided to deport at least eight students from Russia due to the spread of pro-Russian propaganda.

Slovenian law enforcement managed to detain agents

The agency indicates that at the end of 2022, officers of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Artem and Anna Dultsev were detained in Ljubljana posed as Argentine citizens.

Journalists clarified that the couple had legalized in the country long before Russia's invasion, but Slovenian special services began their investigation during the war in Ukraine.

What awaits them

In 2022, the couple also began spying on the activities of the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, so they were detained.

The Dultsev family faces up to eight years in prison, and they have already spent 18 months in a detention facility. Meanwhile, the WSJ points out that the Russian agents might be exchanged, an issue that concerned former Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.

Russia has intensified espionage activities against Western countries

Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, a number of Western countries have faced espionage activities from Russia. This especially affected those states that provide assistance to Ukraine.

Recently, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reported that Alliance members intend to take stricter measures against Russian spies.