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Russia Embassy site used as intelligence and communications base for European operations

The Russian Embassy is located in South Dublin.

A stock image inside the grounds of the Russian Embassy.
A stock image inside the grounds of the Russian Embassy.
Image: Sam Boal

RUSSIA IS USING its Dublin embassy as a communications base employing more than a dozen intelligence operatives to process information for European agents, security sources have said. 

Sources have told The Journal the Russian Embassy in South Dublin is not just a diplomatic unit but also that it has a high end intelligence capability including monitoring and communicating with agents across Europe. 

One security source said that the South Dublin campus is a “major communications centre”.

“Ireland and New Zealand have always been seen as a good training ground for practising how to operate in western, especially English speaking, countries,” a source said. 

The Journal has learned that intelligence agency staff are located at the embassy. 

These intelligence agencies include the GRU which is the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

Their role is military intelligence and security sources said the agency has a massive global footprint with a significantly advanced technology capability for monitoring and providing secure communications.

It is believed also that the SVR, the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation, has agents based in Ireland.

A senior security source said that the embassy is suspected to have approximately a dozen people who work in communications. 

“It is mainly GRU specialists in Ireland with some SVR specialists also. The GRU workers would be involved in communicating to agents across Europe – the Dublin embassy is a communications hub.

“Their presence is believed to be around 10 to 15 people. One key response from the Irish Government would be to expel these people – that would have an impact,” the source explained.  

Another security source said that there could be a response from Ireland that would limit the activities but such a response would be mirrored in Moscow. 

“It is important to keep diplomacy options open,” the source explained. 

Sources said that the staff from the FSB, the internal intelligence agency, which is the successor of the infamous Soviet era KGB, are not routinely stationed in Dublin and only visit as the need arises.

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Their role is internal intelligence work in Russia and is similar in activities to the British MI5 – only operating inside the country. 

FSB operations in Ireland would be to monitor their own employees and investigate the activities of their staff. A security source said that they occasionally visit.

On a recent visit to the Embassy for a press conference The Journal observed a large campus with multiple buildings which included small apartment blocks. 

When contacted by The Journal Nikita Isakin, the Press Attaché at the Embassy refused to confirm or deny the claims. 

“I’d like to say that we have no comments on that. We can’t confirm it or deny it because we don’t know anything about that. So we have no comment from the embassy unfortunately.

“Well, I can just say that I’ve abstained from the commentary. It’s like, these are basically what I’ve done, I’m abstaining from, the embassy, abstains from the commentary because we have no information yet. It’s just as simple as that,” he said. 

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