A Russian couple arrested in Sweden this week on espionage charges are believed to have been working for the GRU, the Russian secret service. Indications of this have come from research by the journalism research group Bellingcat.
On Tuesday afternoon around 06:00 two army helicopters appeared over an upscale neighborhood in Stockholm. Eyewitnesses saw an arrest team descend on the ropes and fall on the roof of one of the villas. The officers entered through the windows and arrested a man and a woman.
The whole process took less than a minute. After the arrests, the police said that the procedure should be done quickly, because “the suspects should not be given the opportunity to flush anything in the toilet or damage computers.”
The two were suspected of espionage for a foreign power, from 2013 in the United States and from 2014 until the time of their arrest in Sweden. They deny any connection to espionage. The man remains in custody, and the woman has been released on bail. Still suspected of collusion.
The police did not reveal their identities, but the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet wrote on the same day that they were Russians, between the ages of 60 and 70, who came to Sweden in the late 1990s. Their names have also been leaked: it will be Sergey Skvortsov and Elena Kolkova.
Bellingcat investigative group investigated the two and discovered that they owned an apartment in Moscow in October 1999. Denis Zergiev lived in the same corridor. This is according to Bellingcat and the BBC programme news night A GRU officer and sponsor of the 2018 assassination attempt on Russian double agent Skripal in Salisbury, England.
But according to Bellingcat, the apartment complex has more residents who work for GROE. Such as a GRU chief who was also involved in the Skripal case and other subversive murders, poisonings and a GRU officer who was involved in disinformation campaigns.
According to Bellingcat, the suspects are business owners dealing in marine and aviation spare parts, computers, IT services, and investment companies. One such company is based in Cyprus and was owned for many years by a retired GRU officer.
Bellingcat also says that Kolkova’s daughter is having an affair with the son of a former head of Swedish military intelligence. That relationship was going to happen after the president’s retirement.
Another spy case
Yesterday began the trial of two accused of espionage in Sweden. These two brothers of Iranian descent are said to have spied for the GRU between 2011 and 2021.
One of the brothers worked for the Swedish intelligence agency SAPO and the Swedish army in 2014. He had access to information about Swedish spies abroad. An intelligence expert said on Swedish TV that the brothers had compiled a list of all of Sabu’s employees.
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