Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin today hailed the country’s secret services for foiling around 30 planned attacks and uncovering more than 320 foreign spies in 2015.
“I want to point out that this year, thanks to the efforts of the FSB employees, more than 30 crimes of a terrorist nature have been prevented,” said Putin in a speech honouring the FSB, whose forerunner was the Soviet KGB.
“Our counter-intelligence service carries a great responsibility. This year they identified more than 320 traitorous officers and agents of foreign secret services,” noted Putin, himself a former KGB agent and head of the FSB before his rise to political power in 1999.
“We are seeing the secret services of a certain number of countries intensifying… Their work in Russia,” he added.
The recent increase in spying activity has been due in large part to the fighting in eastern Ukraine, pitting Kiev government forces against pro-Russian separatists since April 2014.
Putin in his speech also mentioned another global hotspot, Syria, where Russia in September began a campaign of air strikes against “terrorists” to support the regime of ally Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
He said the Russian army was “far from using all its capabilities in Syria,” assuring that “additional funds could be released if necessary” for the military effort there.