• Number of the week: 70

    Hundreds of Russian diplomats have been expelled from the EU since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Some 70 had to leave Germany for another shady reason: it’s claimed they used their diplomatic immunity to illegally gather information for the Russian secret services.

    The presence of Russian agents disguised as diplomats in Germany has been an open secret for years. For a long time, however, the government in Berlin didn’t dare act against them, fearing Russia would retaliate by expelling real German diplomats.

    It comes as no surprise that Germany, as an arms supplier to Ukraine and a training centre for Ukrainian soldiers, is a main target of Russian espionage. Experts estimate there are as many agents working in Germany today as during the Cold War. They will increasingly resort to undercover methods again.

    This article is part of the "Europe roots out Russian spies" edition
    On Vladimir Putin's secret service
    Number of the week: 70
    Misfits enlisted to run Ukraine ops
    Moscow boosts its Belgrade mission