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Dublin: 18 °C Saturday 8 August, 2020

Russia dispatches hitman to find double agent

Agent who blew cover on Anna Chapman and nine other Russian spies who were expelled from the US over the summer facing retribution, says Russian report.

A combination image of some of the 10 people expelled from the US as Russian agents.
A combination image of some of the 10 people expelled from the US as Russian agents.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE KREMLIN HAS DISPATCHED a hitman to find and assassinate the Russian double agent who blew the cover of 10 secret Russian agents operating in the US, according to the Guardian.

A Kremlin official told the Russian business publication Kommersant said a “Mercador has already been sent for him”.

Ramon Mercado was the assassin sent to kill Leon Trotsky after he fled to Mexico.

The Kremlin source said that the rogue agent would “carry this with him all his life, and will fear retribution every day”, according to the Moscow News. The source said: “We know who he is and where he is”.

“Traitors always end up badly”

Kommersant identified senior intelligence service officer Col Shcherbakov as the man who exposed the spy ring. He is thought to have left Russia just days before President Dmitry Medvedev met with President Barack Obama in the US in June.

When the spy ring story broke in June, Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin said: “This is the result of betrayal, and traitors always end up badly”.

In July, the US expelled 10 people who pleaded guilty to acting as unregistered foreign agents, in exchange for four men who had been convicted of espionage in Russia. Several Irish passports were allegedly used by the group, leading to a garda investigation into the abuse of Irish passport data.

American authorities said the 10 Russian spies had not managed to get any useful information back to Moscow.

Russia honoured the 10 at a special ceremony in the Kremlin last month.

The Guardian reports that since the end of the Soviet Union, Moscow consistently claims that the last ordered hit was on a Ukrainian nationalist in 1959.

However, the poisoning of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov in London in 1978 and the 2006 poisoning of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko cast doubt over the apparent cancellation of assassinations abroad.

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