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NY Times: Elite Russian Unit Seeks to Destabilize Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a meeting with officers from the country's GRU intelligence service. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 08 October 2019 01:38 PM

An elite, top secret unit inside the Russian intelligence system is seeking to destabilize Europe, The New York Times is reporting.

The group, known as Unit 29155, has already been linked to an attempted assassination of a former Russian spy in Great Britain, a thwarted coup in Montenegro, and the poisoning of an arms dealer in Bulgaria, the newspaper said.

"I think we had forgotten how organically ruthless the Russians could be," said Peter Zwack, a retired military intelligence officer and former defense attaché at the United States Embassy in Moscow. Zwack said he was not aware of the unit's existence.

The unit is based in eastern Moscow and sits within the command hierarchy of the Russian intelligence agency, known as the GRU.

Some of those in the unit are decorated veterans of Russia's wars, including Afghanistan and Ukraine, according to the Times.

"This is a unit of the GRU that has been active over the years across Europe," said one European security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"It's been a surprise that the Russians, the GRU, this unit, have felt free to go ahead and carry out this extreme malign activity in friendly countries. That's been a shock."

A retired GRU officer with knowledge of Unit 29155 said that it specialized in preparing for "diversionary" missions, "in groups or individually — bombings, murders, anything."

"They were serious guys who served there," the retired officer said. "They were officers who worked undercover and as international agents."

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An elite, top secret unit inside the Russian intelligence system is seeking to destabilize Europe, The New York Times is reporting.
russia, spy, europe, putin
247
2019-38-08
Tuesday, 08 October 2019 01:38 PM
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