Russia’s GRU: spy agency known for facelessness in headlines

GRU, officially known as the Chief of General Staff, has long been accused by the West of accusing the faceless and high-profile attacks in the 2016 US presidential elections and the 2018 nerve agent, including the hacking of Democratic Party email accounts in Salisbury, UK attack.

Now the spy agency is at the center of international attention, reports He concluded that US intelligence GRU agents offered the Taliban cash incentives to kill American and British troops in Afghanistan.

The news has already caused a political storm in Washington, when congressional leaders demanded answers from the Trump administration. But observers are wondering why the Russian intelligence agency will conduct an operation that potentially conflicts with Russia’s own goals in order to bring the warring parties to the table in Afghanistan and to avoid the collapse of the central government.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the story – first reported New York Times – President Donald Trump’s resounding “scam” proposal the reported intelligence is “fake” and the story may be wrong.

“Above all, these claims are false.” Said Peskov in a conference call with reporters. “Second, if US private services still report to the president, [you] Based on the related statements of President Trump, who gave his assessment to these reports. “

A person can be forgiven because he has the feeling of déjà vu: the denial of the GRU always comes from the Russian government quickly.

In March 2018, British Prime Minister Theresa May is believed to be “most likely” responsible for Russia’s ex-Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia’s attempt to be killed in the English city of Salisbury, and the two suspects in the attack were GRU officers. That July, the US Special Prosecutor’s Office presumption 12 GRU officials for allegedly attacked Democratic Party email accounts as part of a larger effort led by the Kremlin to intervene in the 2016 US election campaign

Although the Russian President Vladimir Putin called Skripal “traitor” and “filth” and suggested that the leakage of the Democratic Party emails was not necessarily a bad thing, the Kremlin refused to participate in both cases.

“Some hackers, Miss. [Hillary] Clinton’s campaign headquarters – supporting one candidate for party candidacy at the expense of another, “he said.” Everyone talks about who did it, but who does it? The important thing is the content of this information. This is my answer. ”

Now, GRU’s claims that they have awarded Taliban fighters to kill US troops arrive at a sensitive time: Russia sees Afghanistan as a neighbor, and wants American troops out of the country.

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In late February, the U.S. and the Taliban signed a peace treaty that paved the way for US troops to withdraw from Afghanistan and peace talks between the militant group and the government.

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Although relations between the U.S. and Russia are filling, the two countries have a common ground in Afghanistan: Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova, often a loyal critic of US foreign policy, recently praised the Special Representative of the Afghanistan Reconciliation of the USA, Zalmay Khalilzad peace “proactive efforts” to ensure.

And Russia’s own efforts shape results He brought representatives of the Taliban and Afghanistan’s most important political players to Moscow in Afghanistan.

The International Crisis Group and Asian program director Laurel Miller say a GRU operation targeting the US and coalition troops contradicts these Russian diplomatic initiatives.

Russia has contacted the Taliban and other warring parties in Afghanistan as a way to influence the results in an area where it considers its strategic backyard. “It is known that there are Russian contacts with the Taliban and at least the relationship with the benefits as a protection technique has been lubricated a bit,” Miller said. Said. For example, in 2017, the best US commander Ordu Gen. John Nicholson said that Russia was sending weapons to the Taliban through neighboring Tajikistan.

However, he said the operation to reward US troops would be much more provocative and “something different” than typical behavior. “It contradicts what Russian official policy is,” he said. In other words, it could be the backfire of the alleged GRU operation targeting the US and coalition troops: it could weaken US support for withdrawal or perhaps bring fresh sanctions to Russia.

However, the agency has a reputation for facelessness and can work independently of an apparently opportunistic or official policy.

Andrew Weiss, vice president of the work of the Carnegie International Peace Foundation, points out that the GRU is aggressively continuing operations that cause diplomatic fallout. Intelligence experts say Salisbury poisoning leading to investigation exit Bellingcat masking the alleged GRU operators’ mask with open source research – sending a message to the enemies of the SPU showed a pattern of recklessness and open brutality rather than a secret approach to spycraft.

“This was a model we saw many times in Ukraine,” referring to Russian intelligence activities. “The Kremlin is not a very oiled machine, but over and over again, Putin does little to improve Russia’s international image – either by refusing open Russian mistakes or throwing a security blanket over the security agency.”

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Putin showed consistent willingness to provide GRU with political protection.

Just a few months after the Salisbury poisonings that caused dozens of Russian diplomats from being expelled from the West, Putin participated in a gala event to celebrate the centenary of what was called the “legendary GRU” and praised the patriotism of its officers, working for an organization that no longer has the name “intelligence”.

“The name of the Main Intelligence Directorate is unclear where it goes.” said. “We have to restore it.”

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About the Author: Abbott Hopkins

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