The French secret service (DGSI) uncovered a “clandestine operation” being carried out by six Russian agents “operating under diplomatic cover.”
In a statement on Monday evening, the French foreign ministry said the operation being “conducted by Russian intelligence services” on French territory had been dismantled. The operation was carried out by “six Russian agents operating under diplomatic cover and whose activities proved to be contrary to our national interests,” said the statement. The undercover Russian operation was discovered on Sunday, the day of the first round of the French presidential election.
The Russian agents were declared persona non grata and the second-in-command at the Russian embassy was summoned to the ministry Monday evening.
On Twitter, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin praised a “remarkable counterespionage operation” and congratulated the DGSI, which he said “watches over our fundamental interests.” He confirmed that the Russian agents involved will have to leave the country.
A week ago, 35 Russian diplomats were expelled by France, the biggest eviction of Russian officials since the so-called Farewell Dossier in 1983, when some 40 Soviet agents were booted out thanks to documents handed to French authorities by Vladimir Vetrov, a KGB defector codenamed “Farewell.”