Russia expelled a Latvian civilian aviation senior inspector, who was allegedly working as a “double agent” for Latvia and the United States.
According to report from Russian broadcaster NTV Channel, the suspected Latvian double agent was Andrejs Dudarevs with code name “agent Thomas.” The report indicated that agent Thomas has been gathering classified military information for Latvia and the United States for more than two decades.
Agent Thomas was identified by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). The agency banned Mr. Dudarevs or agent Thomas from entering Russia from 10 years.
Russia’s FSB described agent Thomas as a “poorly trained spy”
According to the report, agent Thomas tried to contact the security service of Russia in 2011.
After three years, he has a meeting with FSB representatives and presented information from his colleagues in the West particularly about the Balnet radio-radar system installed by the United States in the Baltic region to monitor Russia’s air space.
In exchange for the information, agent Thomas requested for a job in Russia’s military aviation and some financial benefits. The Russian FSB checked the information and found that it was an outdated NATO plans. The FSB described agent Thomas as a “poorly trained spy.”
Russia’s expulsion of the alleged Latvian double agent came months after Alexei Holostov, another Latvian national was banned from entering the country last November.
Holostov admitted that he gathered and shared intelligence information to other parties. At the time, Holostov was working for Latvia’s special services. The CIA was then supervising the operations of Latvia’s special services.
Tension between Russia and West escalated
Over the past year, the tension between Russia and Western countries particularly the United States intensified due to the crisis in Ukraine. The United States and the European Union (EU) accused Russia of supporting the separatist fighting against Ukraine. Russia strongly denied the accusations.
Last year, the United States imposed sanctions against Russian individuals and firms for their involvement in the Ukraine conflict.
Last month, Putin blamed the West for the crisis in Ukraine. According to him, Western countries broke their “hollow promises” not to expand NATO by not including former Soviet Union countries.
He also accused NATO of threatening the interests of Russia by trying to rip apart state that were previously part of the former USSR, and forcing them to make an artificial choice between Europe and Russia.
Putin along with several Russian officials threatened to cut off gas supplies to Ulraine by the end of the week. It is not the first time for Russia to cut off gas supplies for the country. In fact, Russia did it three times in the past. Putin is again using energy as a geopolitical weapon to destabilize Ukraine.
Russia’s former Deputy Prime Minister killed
Last Friday, Boris Nemtsov, a former Deputy Prime Minister and a strong critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin was killed in Moscow after a radio interview. During the interview, he criticized Putin’s policies as “aggressive and mad.”
“The most important reason for the crisis is that Putin began this policy of war with Ukraine, which is unbelievably aggressive, fatal for our country, and for many people,” said Nemtsov during the radio interview.
A day before that interview, Nemtsov led a protest against Russia’s actions related to the Ukraine crisis as well as the economic crisis in the country. Nemtsov is writing a report that would prove Kremlin’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis, according to one of his friends.
Nemtsov was killed approximately 200 meters away from the Kremlin walls at the Moskvoretsky Bridge in Moscow. Investigators said the Nemtsov was killed by a contract killer based on evidences. He endured seven gun shots. He was struck by four bullets on the back, and one of the bullets hit his heart
An opposition leader Ilya Yashin said, “Nemtsov was a bright opposition leader, one of the key leaders of the opposition, and the objects of his criticism were authority figures including President Vladimir Putin. I have no doubts that this murder has a political character.”