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Western intelligence believes Russia used Serbian agent to infiltrate EU bodies – Politico

Tuesday, 5 March 2024, 11:51
Western intelligence believes Russia used Serbian agent to infiltrate EU bodies – Politico
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Russian intelligence has used a Serbian agent to infiltrate EU institutions and spread pro-Kremlin narratives about Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Source: Politico with reference to a Western intelligence briefing, as reported by European Pravda

Details: According to documents, Serbian citizen Novica Antić, in October 2023, knowingly collaborated closely with Russian secret services, meeting with European officials in Brussels, including the European Parliament members. 

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Among these MEPs were German Greens lawmaker Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, Italian Socialists and Democrats lawmaker Alessandra Moretti and Vladimír Bilčík, a Slovakian member of the conservative European People's Party Group.

The intelligence briefing did not mention anything suggesting that the MEPs knew Antić's ties to the Russian Security Service (FSB).

Antić, the Serbian Military Trade Union chair, also met with EUROMIL and EPSU union representatives, representing armed forces personnel and civil servants in the EU. 

According to a Western intelligence briefing, Antić is an active FSB "agent of influence". He closely collaborates with an FSB employee named Vyacheslav Kalinin, a Russian citizen and the chief editor of Veteran News, a website specialising in the news for armed forces veterans. 

While the intelligence briefing highlighted Antic's actions, it also mentioned that Kalinin recruited others without specifying how many or in which countries.

Kalinin invited Antić to Russia for meetings with senior Russian military leadership in 2019-2020. Initially focusing on influencing Serbian civil society, the pair expanded their activities to include European trade unions, veterans' organisations and even European Parliament members in recent months.

Reference: Antić, an outspoken critic of the Serbian armed forces who had fallen out of favour with the country's political leadership, was detained on unspecified charges, as the Balkan Insight news website reported.

Balkan Insight stated that Antić has been discharged from the Serbian army twice in the last five years. He reportedly declared a hunger strike in protest against his detention. Antić's lawyer has refused to name the exact charges against him.

Background: The news about Antić holding meetings in the European Parliament underscores the vulnerability of this institution. Recently, Politico reported that spyware was found on the mobile phones of two European Parliament members, including former French Minister for European Affairs Nathalie Loiseau, who heads the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence.

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