Le Monde: France has discovered a new Russian spy

Le Monde: Во Франции обнаружен новый российский шпион

“Hunting for Russian spies in Europe is in full swing. Secret war is so intense that Western governments sometimes have to break the silence.

The first time it happened after the Russian agent Sergei Skripal, defected to the British enemy, was poisoned in March 2018 in the South of England two employees of the Main Directorate of the Russian military intelligence.

For the second time during the arrest, a month later, in the Hague, four of the spies GRU, who tried to commit cyber attacks on the headquarters of the Organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons,” writes the journalist of Le Monde, Jacques Follow.

“Abide by since silence with respect to the activity of the GRU does not mean that it has decreased. In 2018 was discovered and exposed a new Russian spy, but his name this time was not disclosed by the authorities. We are talking about Sergey Zheltikova, who held consular posts in Switzerland. This individual has the Swiss justice system that he was part of the mobile units of the GRU, along with two agents arrested in April 2018, Evgeny Serebryakov and Alexei Morenza. These two were acting under diplomatic cover and were members of the unit 26165 GRU, a springboard of military cyber-espionage, one of the favorite weapons of the Kremlin”, – stated in the article.

“According to the Swiss secret service, Zheltikov performed the functions of logistics and took care of the security of the Duo Serebryakov-Morenets in March 2017 in Lausanne during the hacking operation directed against the world anti-doping Agency). About 700 anti-doping experts, gathered to hear lawyer Richard McLaren, author of a report on the system of abuse created by the Russian government during the winter Olympic games 2014 in Sochi.

In 2018 Zheltikov also prepared the arrival of two of his assistants to conduct another operation against Federal nuclear, biological and chemical laboratory in Spiez, South of Bern, which is the authorised laboratory of the OPCW and WADA,” said the author of the publication.

“Zheltikov was uncovered as a spy in Switzerland in 2018, but the Swiss intelligence agencies in fact, from the end of 2016 knew he was working for the GRU in Europe. Information has been provided by the French counterintelligence, which for several months had suspected him of belonging to the Russian military intelligence,” reads the article.

“In mid-September 2016, when he was Vice-Consul at the Consulate of Marseille, which is known to nest GRU in France, the agents of the Main Department of internal security (DGSI) mounted surveillance on him until the airport of Marignane. They were surprised to find, as he welcomed the two Russians from Moscow, travelling under his real name: Yevgeniya Serebryakova and Alexei Marenca” – writes Le Monde.

“In Marseille Zheltikov acted cautiously. In the archives of the regional press in La Provence and La Marseillaise, there is no mention or pictures of this character that is present on a particular local event, as is the case with other members of the Consulate in Marseilles. Similarly, none of the people with whom we communicate in the Russian community in Marseille, in the Franco-Russian Alliance or in the bilingual magazine “Perspective” close to the Consulate could not remember the Vice-Consul zheltikova,” says the journalist

“His actions were discovered DGSI, the French Ministry of foreign Affairs did not know about its existence,” – emphasizes Follow.

“Zheltikov left France in October 2016, shortly after the completion of his mission in Switzerland along with his two accomplices. Russian Consulate in Marseilles, and addressed by the newspaper Le Monde indicates that he ran out of the stay and denies any connection with other motives out. However, the messages from DGSI in GRU on the return of his agent in Moscow could be sent without passing through the diplomatic channel”

“It took to Serebryakov and Morenets was arrested in April 2018 in the Hague, together with two other Russian agents near the cars, stuffed with equipment for electronic interception parked at the headquarters of the OPCW to Switzerland ceased to behave cautiously towards Jeltikova. After treatment of the SRC, the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Switzerland and the Federal Council decided to refuse the granting of diplomatic immunity. In accordance with the procedure, the Embassy was informed about the start of the trial. When justice tried to question zheltikova, it was too late: he has once again fled to Moscow. Where he apparently still is” – sums up the author of the publication.