‘Russia has network of killer spies in UK ready to strike’, says ex-MI6 agent

Vladimir Putin has a network of Russian spies in the UK who are prepared to kill on command, according to a former MI6 agent.

The spies are said to lead normal civilian lives for years, blending in and taking jobs in important industries like national defence.

Then, they attempt to manoeuvre themselves into positions of influence – gaining access to critical information and waiting to strike.

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Ex-spook Julian Richards also said Putin's goons are trained to infiltrate commercial companies that provide services to governments, such as British Aerospace.

"Theoretically they could assassinate someone, if they needed to," he told The Sun.

"We know that the UK has always been a particular target for the Russians.

"They know that we’re potentially a very useful connection into the American intelligence system."

Richards went on to say that it is tricky to gauge just how effective and extensive Putin's spy network is.

On the one hand, Russia could be extremely effective at espionage meaning we have no idea of the true scale. On the other, the time and expense involved in setting up sleeper agents may mean we don't need to get too worried.

Richards said: "Either it’s a big problem and we don’t have an idea of the scale of it and how many are out there, but I think it’s more likely it’s not that big of a problem, and because they are so difficult to do, there probably aren’t many of them out there.

"But there are some, particularly in the UK."

Richards' warning comes after the arrest of suspected Russian spy Sergey Skvortsov and his wife Elena Koulkova in Sweden earlier this week.

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Elite police abseiling from Black Hawk helicopters carried out a lightning-fast dawn raid on their home on the island of Varmdo, near Stockholm, on Tuesday (November 22).

To the outside world Skvortsov, 59, and Koulkova, 58, from Moscow, seemed “like everyone else”, one neighbour told the Times.

But underneath their outward “friendly manner” and apparent interest in “gardening”, Swedish authorities suspect the couple led double lives as Kremlin spies for the best part of a decade.

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