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War in Ukraine gave US intel opportunity to recruit Russian spies

War in Ukraine gave US intel opportunity to recruit Russian spies War in Ukraine gave US opportunity to recruit Russian spies (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

The full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation has enabled the United States to recruit spies in the Kremlin who are dissatisfied with the war, according to CNN.

As noted by CIA Director Bill Burns last year, dissatisfaction with the war creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

Recruitment efforts are not a state secret. During the war, the CIA released Russian-language videos appealing to those discontented with the Russian invasion who have access to useful information for the United States. This highlights the evolution of an intelligence service that has mostly conducted its operations under the cloak of secrecy.

Intelligence posts contain step-by-step instructions for potential informants on how to avoid detection, using virtual private networks (VPNs) and the Tor web browser to contact the agency anonymously on the so-called "dark web."

"Like the Cold War of the past, espionage remains a vital tool for both sides of the latest conflict, as evidenced by tech-savvy US intelligence officers attempting to recruit new assets in plain sight, and Russian-linked operatives reportedly increasing operations across Europe," adds CNN.

According to Douglas London, a former CIA division chief working abroad, directly addressing potential informants is an unusual approach, but one that could prove effective.

Russian spies in Europe

Since the start of the full-scale war, Russia has ramped up the activities of its spy networks across Europe. Their tasks include carrying out sabotage, gathering necessary intelligence, or undermining support for Ukraine.

For instance, only recently, Poland conducted a series of raids related to the activities of a network of Russian spies who were discrediting Ukraine.

Specifically, in April, Romania's Supreme National Defense Council reported that a network of Russian spies attempted to gather information in the country about military exercises and assistance to Ukraine.