MOSCOW, RUSSIA JULY 20, 2022: Russia s President Vladimir Putin attends a plenary session at the Strong Ideas for a New Time forum at the GES-2 decommissioned power station. Alexei Maishev/POOL/TASS PUBLICATIONxINxGERxAUTxONLY TS13AF49

According to MI6 chief Richard Moore, half of all Russian intelligence agents in Europe have been expelled since Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began. According to the last count, there are “about 400 Russian secret service agents working under diplomatic camouflage,” Moore said at the US Aspen Security Conference, according to media reports.

According to the head of the British secret service, the expulsion of around 400 diplomats from European countries such as France and Germany drastically reduced the Kremlin’s espionage capacities. “That probably cut in half their ability to spy for Russia in Europe,” Moore said. Western intelligence agencies have made concerted efforts to disrupt Russia’s spy networks since the invasion in February.

MI6 has not yet commented on how the impact of the coordinated expulsions is being assessed. Although the number of people expelled had previously been published, the proportion of Russian secret service agents in Europe was not.

In April this year, Germany expelled 40 Russian diplomats and France 41. Great Britain is one of the few countries that has not expelled any diplomats since the beginning of the war of aggression. The reason is the previous expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats after the poisoning of defector Sergei Viktorovich Skripal and his daughter in 2018, as reported by the British newspaper The Guardian.