Britain’s chief foreign intelligence officer believes Russia is losing steam in its invasion of Ukraine. The expulsion of more than 400 Russian intelligence officers from European cities and the arrests of several deep-cover spy spies pretending to be civilians has resulted in the loss of its ability to spy on Europe “by half.” Richard Moore, head of MI6, stated to Jim Sciutto of CNN that Europe has expelled “northern 400 Russian intelligence officers working under diplomatic cover” since Russia invaded Ukraine in Feb.
Moore stated that the UK has likely reduced its ability to spy on Russia in Europe by at least half what it can do. Moore said that many “illegals,” Russian spies who operate undercover and disguise themselves as civilians, were also exposed and arrested over the past months. Moore said he thinks Russia is “about to run out of steam” in Ukraine.
He stated that he believes the Russians will find it increasingly difficult to supply manpower material in the coming weeks. “They will need to take a break, and that will allow the Ukrainians to respond,” Moore stated that the Ukrainians’ morale was still high. They are receiving increasing amounts of high-quality weaponry.
Russia, however, has failed to achieve its initial goals of taking Kyiv and overthrowing the government there. It is now mainly using “cannon fodder,” he stated. Moore was asked if the war in Ukraine had made Russia a “target rich ecosystem” for the UK to recruit potential assets. He said that it was “our hope” that the intelligence and diplomatic service Russians would “reflect upon what they are seeing in Ukraine” and “strike back at the system,” as many did during 1968’s Prague Spring.
Moore also echoed the comments made by Bill Burns, CIA Director, to the forum Wednesday regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s health. He said that there is no evidence Putin is in serious health problems. Burns stated that the US believes Putin “entirely too well” despite speculations and rumors that he may be sick. Moore was asked what lessons China learned from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He said that it was too early to know if Beijing would try to invade Taiwan.
He said that Chinese President Xi Jinping was watching the situation and how the US and the west respond to it “like a hawk.” Moore stated that Moore thinks Moore underestimates the US’ resolve and power. Moore said that Moore might miscalculate, especially over Taiwan. Moore stated, however, that he doesn’t believe a war between China, Taiwan, or the United States is inevitable. Moore stated that MI6 is now devoted to China more than any other subject but remains “still quite opaque.”
Moore stated that understanding Xi Jinping’s strategic intent at one level is easy. He cited Xi’s declared desire to control key technological areas. But if you look at the strategy from their implementation, organization, management, and how they do it, then that’s just one aspect of what they are doing. Then there’s what they’re building.
Moore stated that it was clear that the Chinese are helping Russia over Ukraine through their oil purchases. He said that while the Chinese have been cautious about providing military aid to Russia, he believes they would provide it if they wanted. He said that Moscow is the “junior partner” and that the Chinese were in the driving seat regarding the bilateral partnership.
Moore also spoke out on the Iran nuclear agreement, telling Sciutto that he believes it should be revived but that he is skeptical that the Supreme Leader would agree to the deal. The deal is on the table, and the European powers and the administration have made it clear that they believe it. It is unlikely that Russia and China would oppose it. However, I do not think that the Iranians would want it.”