Russian spy caught trying to infiltrate ICC: Netherlands | News

Dutch authorities uncover a Russian military spy posing as a Brazilian intern to infiltrate the international war crimes tribunal based in The Hague.

The Dutch intelligence service has discovered a Russian military agent trying to use a false identity to infiltrate the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigating war crimes allegations in Ukraine.

Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov 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 director told the Reuters news agency. Thursday.

“This was a long-term, multi-year 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 immediately be reached for comment, though President Vladimir Putin’s government has in the past frequently denied espionage allegations 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 is facing 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.

ICC spokeswoman Sonia Robla said the court was grateful to the Dutch authorities for the operation and the exposure of security risks.

“The ICC takes these threats very seriously and will continue to work and cooperate with the Netherlands,” he said.

There was no immediate comment on the case from Brazilian authorities.

‘Well Constructed Cover’

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 invented cover story, including 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 brown coffee. . bean stew.

“Cherkasov used a well-constructed cover identity whereby he concealed 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 allegations 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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