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Iran Press TV

Hammond: Russia greatest threat to UK security

Iran Press TV

Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:30PM

British foreign secretary has described Russia as the "greatest threat" to UK national security.

Philip Hammond made the comments a speech at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

He warned that Russia's modernization of its military capability is a "cause for concern" for the UK.

"The rapid pace with which Russia is seeking to modernize her military forces and weapons combined with the increasingly aggressive stance of the Russian military including Russian aircraft around the sovereign airspace of NATO states are all significant causes of concern," British media quoted him as saying.

"We are in familiar territory for anyone over the age of about 50, with Russia's behavior a stark reminder that it has the potential to pose the single greatest threat to our security," he said.

Russia response

Meanwhile, Russian ambassador to the UK has hit back at Hammond.

"Remarks prove John Le Carre right: Intelligence services are a spiritual home of British political elite," Alexander Yakovenko wrote on his twitter page.

British espionage

Hammond also said London would continue to gather intelligence about Moscow's "capabilities and intentions" for "the foreseeable future."

'Hence, continuing to gather intelligence on Russia's capabilities and intentions will remain a vital part of intelligence effort for the foreseeable future. It is no coincidence that all of our agencies are recruiting Russian speakers again,' he noted.

Back in February, reports revealed that British intelligence agencies were advertising to employ Russian-speaking spies amid growing tensions between London and Moscow.

The spies will be paid £30,000 a year. Their job will deal with "terrorism," "espionage" and "potential threats" to Britain's security, with the possibility of postings abroad.

MI5, MI6 and GCHQ have posted online adverts for the job, Russia Today reported.

The spies will be asked to contribute to the government's policy on how to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Troubled ties

Relations between Russia and the UK have already been strained over the 2006 murder of a former KGB spy in London.

British investigators have accused two Russians of poisoning Alexander Litvinenko. They have asked Russian authorities to extradite the two suspects, one of them a member of Russia's parliament.

Russia has refused the requests denying the allegations as baseless.


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