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Changes in Russian spying after invading Ukraine

A half year after Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Moscow’s clandestine services have adjusted significantly their focus and targets.

Laas Leivat, toimetaja
Laas Leivat, toimetaja

As an example, before the war only two departments within the Federal Security Service (FSB – somewhat similar to the USA’s FBI or the UK’s MI5) had targeted its operations to Ukraine. The 5th Service’s responsibility was the collection of intelligence about Ukraine. The Counterintelligence Department stalked and caught spies and attacked activists and non-compliant journalists.

Now the FSB has evolved into a quasi-military outfit, with all major sections involved with Ukraine. This whole-scale participation by much of the FSB hasn’t been seen since the Kremlin’s prolonged Chechen wars and the repression of the local populace.

The Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine are now experiencing the presence of record numbers of Moscow-tasked intelligence officers for three-month stints. This rotation quickly provides them the Ukraine experience, and probably will influence the mindset and orientation of the agencies.

The initial rumors that Putin lashed out at the failures of intelligence for falsely predicting the immediat...

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