Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning recent publications in the British media concerning alleged increase of Russian intelligence activity

Question: How would you comment on British media reports claiming that British security services are currently witnessing intensive activity of Russian intelligence officers allegedly working under diplomatic cover?

Answer: Unfortunately, the spy hysteria in the British society is aggravating. The content of such publications, which regularly appear in the British media with the connivance of the authorities, shows that the current Conservative government is increasing its efforts to create a “toxic” image of the Russian Embassy in order to complicate our interaction with the British public as much as possible. Embassy staff travelling across the country is an absolutely normal, lawful and indispensable part of their work and daily life. Yet it is displayed as some kind of intelligence missions. This amounts to an attempt to limit the Embassy’s routine operations to a minimum.

Such leaks also serve the interests of the British counter-intelligence service, which is actively trying to find new justification of its efforts against Russia after having declared that all “Russian spies” have been expelled from the UK.

Tellingly, these publications appear only in British tabloids and always refer to unanimous “security chiefs”. This is a well-established pattern. The journalists do not even try to corroborate their allegations, inviting the reader to believe in the impeccability of the British secret services and trust their every word. There is no need to remind of the outcome of such attitude with regard to events in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and, finally, Salisbury.