Russian intelligence disrupted in Moldova

Moldova is a small country (just 2 million people) on the western flank of Ukraine. As a former Russian republic until 1991, it is a prime target for Russian espionage efforts. But on July 26 Moldova’s foreign ministry announced that it was forcing 45 suspected Russian intelligence officers to leave the country. The reason was given as “unfriendly actions” which is diplomatic code for “spying”. Western intelligence agencies have been assisting counter-intelligence in Moldova and in the Baltic states of Lativa, Lithuania and Estonia and it is believed that they have helped the Moldovan authorities to detect the Russian officers. The 45 suspected officers are made up of 22 diplomats and 23 members of the embassy’s technical staff. The technical staff have been specified because there has been serious concern that the Russian embassy has been used for communications interception – 28 new antennae have appeared on the roof since the invasion of Ukraine began. The Russians claim that they are all for communicating between the embassy and Moscow. All staff have to leave by 15 August and that will leave a remaining presence at the embassy of about 25. It seems that the Moldovans waited patiently until they could catch the greatest number of Russian operatives and the loss of that number will seriously cripple the Russian spying effort in the country.

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