The Russian military secret service GRU is behind a number of incidents that are part of a campaign to sharpen ties between European countries, writes The New York Times on Tuesday based on a report from four West European intelligence services .
In April last year, a cyber attack by the Russian intelligence service on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague would have been thwarted by the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) and the AIVD. They received support from British colleagues.
A department of the GRU, Team 29155, would also have influenced elections in Moldova and organized a failed coup in Montenegro. In addition, they are held responsible for the poisoning of a Bulgarian arms dealer and the attempt to kill the Russian double spy Sergei Skripal in England.
The latter event would have been the reason for the intelligence services to re-examine "suspicious" incidents from recent years. A year earlier, two members of Team 29155, Mishkin A. and Sergei P., would have traveled to the UK to practice the attack.
What is Team 29155?
- Secret part of the Russian intelligence services
- Would be specialized in creating unrest, killing people and sabotaging events
- Russian team would have been active in Europe for a decade, but was only discovered 'recently'
- It would mainly consist of acclaimed war veterans
Suspicion that the team is being led by Putin
The team would also have been in Bulgaria in 2015 when the arms dealer Emilian Gebrev was poisoned. It is not clear why Gebrev was a goal of Team 29155.
For the poisoning and other incidents, Russia was already held responsible by West European security authorities, but the events had not yet been established.
Now there is a suspicion that the team is being driven by the wishes of Russian President Vladimir Putin to destabilize Western Europe through propaganda, cyber attacks and the spread of fake news.
"It is impossible to find out when and where Team 29155 will hit," sources told The New York Times.
It is striking that the majority of the 29155 campaigns failed. European security officials are surprised, but emphasize that the Russian team could also act carelessly on purpose. "It could also be the Russians only giving signals of their strength."
"Team 29155 also hacked Clinton campaign accounts"
The US was also hit by the team; according to the newspaper, the Russian team would have invaded Hillary Clinton campaign accounts during the 2016 presidential elections and published sensitive information.
Intelligence officer Alex Younger of the MI6 secret service spoke of a "Russian threat" in February this year. He also left out which Russian organization was suspected.
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