In a rare speech delivered in Prague, the head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service, Richard Moore, made a compelling appeal to disenchanted Russians, urging them to collaborate as spies for the United Kingdom. Moore’s address aimed to encourage individuals “wrestling with their conscience” to take a stand against the Putin regime and offered them the opportunity to “share secrets with MI6.”
Expressing concern over the actions of the Russian armed forces, Moore highlighted the distress felt by many Russians witnessing the destruction of Ukrainian cities, the displacement of innocent families, and the abduction of thousands of children. He emphasized that these individuals recognize the fraudulent nature of Putin’s justification for attacking a fellow Slavic nation, emphasizing the need for dissenting Russians to make their voices heard.
Additionally, Moore issued a cautionary message to African states associated with the private mercenary army Wagner, stating that if its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, could betray Russian President Vladimir Putin, it would not hesitate to betray others. He asserted that Russia’s interests lie in exploiting weak states, viewing them as targets for control and manipulation, thus perpetuating a new form of Russian imperialism.
The recent short-lived insurrection led by Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin posed a significant challenge to Putin’s authority, leaving the Kremlin startled. This incident marked the most substantial threat to Putin’s rule in 23 years, underscoring the ongoing power dynamics within Russia.
In response to Moore’s plea for Russians to become spies, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova issued a warning. Zakharova cautioned disaffected citizens against spying for Western intelligence, citing the case of Sergei Skripal, a former officer in Russia’s military intelligence agency who was poisoned in Salisbury, England, in March 2018, according to UK authorities. Zakharova dismissed Moore’s claims and criticized the lack of evidence implicating Russia in the Skripal case.
Mocking Moore’s statement regarding Russia’s chances of regaining ground in the conflict, Zakharova sarcastically remarked that if there were indeed a “little chance” for Russia to regain momentum, there would be no need for such fuss from Moore.
As tensions persist between Russia and Western nations, the plea by the MI6 chief and the subsequent responses highlight the ongoing intelligence rivalry and the complex geopolitical dynamics at play.