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Russian claims he worked for MI6, surrenders

Russia's FSB security service says a Russian national has "turned himself in" and confessed that the British intelligence agency MI6 recruited him as a spy, reports Fred Weir.

world Updated: Jun 27, 2007 02:35 IST
Fred Weir
Fred Weir
Hindustan Times

Russia's FSB security service, successor to the Soviet KGB, said on Tuesday that a Russian national has "turned himself in" and confessed that the British intelligence agency MI6 recruited him as a spy.

"A Russian citizen, whose name will not be disclosed for the moment, voluntarily came to the FSB's reception office and said he had been recruited by representatives of Britain's MI6 secret intelligence service," FSB spokesman Colonel Sergei Ignatchenko told journalists.

"The Russia citizen named representatives of British special services, who had met with him and said when, and in what European countries, cities and hotels secret meetings had been arranged with him and what tasks he had been assigned," he said.

The announcement seems likely to sharpen the war of words between Moscow and London, which has been escalating since Russia last month refused a British request to extradite former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi, who is charged with murdering Alexander Litvinenko with a dose of radioactive Polonium-210 in London last November. Lugovoi gave a press conference in Moscow in which he protested his innocence and claimed that Litvinenko and his chief sponsor, exiled anti-Kremlin tycoon Boris Berezovsky, were both agents of MI6 who had tried to recruit him to gather compromising information against President Vladimir Putin.

Russia has accused Britain of harbouring Berezovsky and encouraging his political activities aimed at destabilising Russia and overthrowing Putin. But Lugovoi's accusation that Berezovsky is actually an agent of British intelligence, if backed by further evidence, can only deepen the official chill between Russia and Britain.

Colonel Ignatchenko said the unnamed man in FSB custody was inspired by Lugovoi's testimony to turn himself in.

First Published: Jun 27, 2007 02:29 IST