Netherlands says Russian spy caught seeking internship at war crimes court

AMSTERDAM: The Dutch intelligence service said on Thursday it had discovered a Russian military agent who was trying to use a false identity to infiltrate the International Criminal Court (CPI) investigating accusations of war crimes in Ukraine.
sergey vladimirovich Cherkasov He created an elaborate cover story dating back years to try to enter the Netherlands as a Brazilian citizen for an internship at the Hague-based ICC in April, the agency’s head told Reuters.
“This was a long run, several years GRU operation that cost a lot of time, energy and money,” Dutch intelligence agency chief Erik Akerboom said, using the acronym for Russia’s military intelligence service.
No GRU representative could be immediately reached for comment, although President Vladimir putinIn the past, the Russian government has frequently denied accusations of espionage as a Western smear campaign against Moscow.
The Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) said in a statement that the man, who went by the alias Viktor Muller Ferreira, was picked up at a Dutch airport. He was declared an undesirable alien and put on the next flight back to Brazil, where he faces legal proceedings, he added.
“It clearly shows us what the Russians are doing: trying to gain illegal access to information inside the ICC. We classify this as a high-level threat,” Akerboom added, saying the ICC had accepted him for an internship.
There was no immediate comment on the case from Brazilian authorities, the Russian government or the ICC.
The Dutch agency said it had taken the unusual step of publishing detailed information on the case to expose the workings of Russian intelligence and the threat to other international institutions.
He distributed a four-page document outlining what he said was Cherkasov’s fabricated cover story. That included an allegedly troubled family history and details of a club where he liked to listen to electronic trance music and his favorite restaurant in Brasilia where he ate cheap black bean stew.
“Cherkasov used a well-constructed cover identity whereby he hid all his ties to Russia in general and the GRU in particular,” the statement said.
The ICC, a permanent world war crimes tribunal with 123 member states, opened an investigation in Ukraine just days after Putin sent in his troops on February 24. It is examining charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
The Dutch have expelled more than 20 Russians accused of espionage in recent years.
They include four people charged in 2018 with hacking the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), two charged with spying on the high-tech corporate sector in 2020, and 17 suspected agents accredited as diplomats who were expelled after of this year’s attack. invasion of Ukraine.
Russia has denied all charges and responded to the latest expulsions by also expelling 15 employees from the Dutch embassy and consulate in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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