Russia using Serbian agent to infiltrate EU bodies - Western intel

Russia using Serbian agent to infiltrate EU bodies - Western intel

Russian intelligence is using a Serbian agent to infiltrate EU institutions and to spread pro-Kremlin talking points about its invasion of Ukraine.

That's according to a Western intelligence briefing seen by Politico, Ukrinform reports.

As recently as October 2023, Serbian national Novica Antić — an active “agent of influence” who knowingly worked closely with Russia’s security agency, according to the documents — held meetings with European officials in Brussels and in particular, Members of the European Parliament.

Those MEPs included German Greens lawmaker Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, Italian Socialists & Democrats lawmaker Alessandra Moretti, and Vladimír Bilčík, a Slovakian member of the conservative European People’s Party Group, according to a press release and a photo seen by POLITICO. There is nothing in the intelligence briefing to suggest that Moretti, Bilčík and von Cramon-Taubadel were aware of Antic’s FSB links when they met with him.

Read also: Zelensky, Vučić meet in Tirana as part of Ukraine-SEE Summit

Antić, the chair of the Serbian Military Trade Union, also met with representatives of the EUROMIL and EPSU trade unions, which represent armed forces personnel and public services employees in the European Union, respectively.

According to the Western intelligence briefing seen by POLITICO, Antić is an active “agent of influence” for Russia’s Federal Security Service, known as the FSB.

Antić works closely with an FSB associate named Vyacheslav Kalinin, a Russian national and editor-in-chief of Veteran News, a media website specializing in news for the veterans of the armed forces. An “About us” tab on the website says that Veteran News is an “information partner” of the FSB and the Russian Ministry of Defense, among other branches of Russia’s security forces, the report reads.

Read also: Russian intelligence running anti-West, anti-Ukraine campaign in Serbia - media

Kalinin is believed to have recruited other people, while it remains unclear how many and within which countries.

The publication says Russia is using Serbia as a launchpad for influence operations designed to weaken pro-EU and pro-NATO sentiment inside the country as well as within the European Union.

Antić has used his role as head of Serbia’s military union to criticize Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and senior members of the country’s armed forces.

“They took every opportunity to promote Russian propaganda relating to the war in Ukraine,” the intel briefing said, referring to meetings in Serbia and EU countries.

As reported earlier, a Bulgarian national, along with five compatriots, has been charged with espionage conspiracy in the UK. The group is believed to have been spying for Russia.

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