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Czech intel chief: engaging foreigners for sabotage in Europe is new Russian tactic

According to the head of Czech counter-intelligence, an attacker may not even know that he or she has been hired by the Russian side. 

Czech intel chief: engaging foreigners for sabotage in Europe is new Russian tactic
Michal Koudelka
Photo: ČT24

Engaging foreigners to commit crimes in Europe, including the arson attack on the bus garages of a Prague transport company, is a new Russian tactic.

This is the opinion of Michal Koudelka, director of the Security Information Service (BIS), ČT24 reports.

According to the head of Czech counterintelligence, the attacker might not even know that he was hired by the Russian side. Koudelka believes that Moscow will continue this approach.

"The fact that the traces of this attack lead to Russia is certainly not just an assumption, there is intelligence behind it. Although, in general, the perpetrator in such cases may not even know that he or she has been recruited by the Russian side," Koudelka said. In his opinion, this tactic allows Russians to distance themselves from the actions of the attackers. 

According to intel chief, Islamists who recruit via the Internet act in a similar way. 

"But if Islamists are trying to radicalise through religion, Russians are doing it through money, but the essence is the same," the BIS director added.

According to the BIS chief, the attempted attack on the bus fleet should not be underestimated. 

"If everything had gone as planned, the entire bus fleet could have caught fire. In addition to the threat to the workers, it would have caused huge material damage, there could have been significant complications in Prague traffic, many trains would not have been able to run the next day, and, of course, there could have been a possible impact on the elections that began that day," Koudelka said. 

Earlier, the police reported that the foreigner had been in the Czech Republic for five days at the time of his detention. He is from South America and speaks Spanish. Law enforcement officials do not specify how far he managed to complete his work. 

"I don't know why the Russians hired a South American to carry out the attack in the Czech Republic. There are different versions, for example, the reason could be that they were in a hurry to carry out the action because the attack was to take place before the European Parliament elections and this person was available. But, of course, there may be more explanations," the BIS chief said.

Earlier, Czech Justice Minister Pavel Blažek said that the Colombian suspect in the Prague attack was not a professional agent, most likely an amateur. Therefore, his investigation should not take long. 

Before that, the court remanded the 26-year-old man in custody. According to a previous statement by Prime Minister Petr Fiala, suspicions of Russian intelligence services' involvement are being investigated, and the probability is high.

The Czech Security Information Service said that, like the security services of other countries, it is receiving more and more "unequivocal" information about the activities of Russian intelligence services that are trying to recruit people outside Russia who are ready to carry out sabotage on the territory of European states for money. 

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