Russian intelligence could have infiltrated the pc infrastructure of an organization that processes British visa functions in Moscow, a brand new investigation has claimed. 

The Bellingcat investigative web site, together with Russian information portal The Insider each reported that they has interviewed the previous chief technical officer of an organization that processes visa functions in Moscow. 

The person, who fled Russia final 12 months and utilized for asylum within the US, reportedly informed them that he had been coerced to work with an agent who revealed to him that they’d entry to the British visa centre’s CCTV cameras and had a diagram of the unit’s laptop community.  

Publishing their findings from the supply often called “Vadim” – who didn’t want his id to be recognized for security causes – they reported that within the spring of 2016 officers from Russian spy company, the Federal Safety Service (FSB), requested for his help with the visa functions for 2 individuals they deliberate to ship to Britain.

The timing factors to the primary reported journey to Britain of the 2 males, who travelled underneath the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, the false names utilized by the lads who’ve been charged with travelling to Salisbury and poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with the novichok nerve agent. Their actual names had been just lately uncovered as Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga.    

Nevertheless. the organisations didn’t show a transparent hyperlink between the alleged efforts of Russian intelligence to penetrate the visa processing system the pair, who the Kremlin has claimed had been vacationers.


Officers within the UK have instructed they acquired authentic visas based mostly on the false documentation together with passports they supplied and have performed down any risk that the system was subverted.

The researchers mentioned: “Whereas our investigation doesn’t definitively show that Russian companies had been profitable in these concrete efforts, it does paint an image of a strategic, long-term Russian effort to compromise the visa issuance system, in addition to to collect intelligence on potential travellers’ plans – each from Russia to Western Europe, and the opposite manner round.”

The report comes as america introduced that it’s actively contemplating a extra extreme spherical of sanctions in opposition to Russia over the Skripal case.

In August, sanctions had been imposed on Russia underneath the Chemical and Organic Weapons Management and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Worldwide Safety and Nonproliferation Christopher Ford mentioned: “The second spherical of sanctions underneath the statue is a extra draconian menu than the primary spherical.“

Companies contributed to this report

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