594 Foreign Spies Nabbed in Russia Last Year (Russian TV News)

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One of the main targets of foreign spies in Russia is developments in the field of highly-advanced weaponry. Last year, FSB officers neutralized about 600 intelligence agents from other countries. Vladimir Putin talked about this today at the extended meeting of the service’s board. In addition to fighting espionage, the FSB needs to focus on the problem of terrorism and corruption.

The fight against terrorism remains a priority. But this year, the president has set a new key task for FSB officers: ensuring economic security, protecting the legitimate interests of entrepreneurs. This is what Putin mentioned in his Address to the Federal Assembly and at the meeting of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Board. Another important task is the protection of information in the circumstances of the real cyberattacks that are being conducted against Russia.

But the president first thanked the officers for their effective work last year in the fight against terrorism and at the World Cup, first and foremost, and during the election campaign. But the requirements for the work of the intelligence services are now as high as they’ve ever been, given the challenges that Russia is facing.

Vladimir Putin: “Near Russia’s borders, the expansion of NATO’s military infrastructure continues. And the decision by the U.S. to withdraw from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-range and Shorter-range Missiles is a direct step toward the weakening of the entire system of international security agreements. This certainly changes the operational environment, unfortunately, not for the better.”

Nevertheless, FSB successfully counteracts terrorism. In just the last 10 years, the number of crimes of a terroristic nature has decreased by over 100 times. But the FSB must continue to act proactively, and identify and thwart the plans of militants in the early stages.

Vladimir Putin: “Terrorists still have the potential to prepare terrorist attacks. As our and other countries’ experience shows, both organized gangs and lone fanatics who were indoctrinated can be behind those crimes. We must use new forms and methods of countering such threats.”

We also should develop cooperation with our colleagues from the CSTO and SCO. The head of state said that the work of counterintelligence is productive. Thanks to successful special operations, the activity of nearly 600 spies was frustrated.

Vladimir Putin: “We see that foreign intelligence is seeking to increase its activity in the Russian direction. They’re seeking access to information of political, economic, scientific, and technological nature by any means. This is especially the case with the protection of the data on the development, testing, and production of future Russian weapons systems and advanced military and dual-use technologies. This should be under the strictest and tightest control. But, of course, dear colleagues, I want to emphasize the other side of this coin. As they say now, this control should be smart. We shouldn’t create artificial barriers. We shouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the past when many promising developments lay in vaults for years due to the regime of secrecy which was formally observed.”

Putin set a task to more actively identify criminal schemes that are detrimental to the state and business. This includes prevention of abuse in financial markets, quick responses to the violation of the rights of entrepreneurs by law enforcement agencies.

It’s necessary to increase the security of national information resources, quickly reverse cyber attacks on governmental bodies and large national companies.

Vladimir Putin: “In essence, these are well-planned, large-scale operations that can seriously affect the national interests of our country. We must be prepared for the fact that such cyberattacks against Russia will continue and there will be more threats associated with it. In this regard, it’s important to take additional measures in order to protect the critical information infrastructure in a timely manner, develop a state system for the detection, prevention, and mitigation of the effects of computer attacks.”

Serious tasks were set for the FSB Border Service. They receive new equipment: 14 new complexes have been put into operation at crossing points. It’s necessary to further upgrade the infrastructure of the border areas.

Dmitry Petrov, Alexandra Terpugova, Vadim Prusov, Nikita Fomkin, and Maria Rodimova for Vesti.

Russia has always supported UNESCO and will continue to do it. Vladimir Putin discussed it today at the meeting with its head, Audrey Azoulay. Putin stressed that he expects the UNESCO’s support of both national development plans and joint projects. The head of the organization noted that UNESCO will further foster the dialogue between countries to settle any disputes and prevent conflicts.

Vladimir Putin: “The relations between Russia and UNESCO have been steadily developing. We remember that UNESCO was and remains the key international intergovernmental organization working in the area of humanitarian relations. From our part, we’ve always supported the organization, and we intend to continue to do so. We’re always at your service. At the same time, we count on your help and support, including methodologically, in the implementation of our national plans and the plans for cooperation between Russia and UNESCO.”

Audrey Azoulay, Head of UNESCO: “Now while international relations are tense, UNESCO is an extremely constructive and useful platform for interaction between states that are able to hold a dialogue. We do it to establish peace and harmony between countries.”

Audrey Azoulay came to Russia for a 3-day visit. She’s already studied the Kremlin’s attractions and visited the art gallery of Zurab Tsereteli, who is a UNESCO ambassador. She’s also scheduled a trip to Tatarstan.

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