VLADIMIR Putin has ordered up to 50 sleeper agents in the UK to prepare for an anti-UK strike, it has been claimed.
MI5 believes the Russian leader has instructed undercover agents to be ready to launch cyberattacks amid rising tensions with Moscow over the war in Ukraine.
Intelligence chiefs fear agents will also try to steal military intel and target Ukrainian activists and Russian dissidents.
Sources have told the Mirror that Russian spies have infiltrated every part of British society, including the top public schools and civil service.
A senior intelligence insider said: “We have to assume that Russia is now active at all levels of British society.
“They collect all kinds of intelligence information and feed it back to the Kremlin through handlers.
“This could be anything from the types of weapons being sent to Ukraine — and how much of them — to the sexual antics of the country’s political and military leaders.”
And former military intelligence officer Lt. Col. Philip Ingram told the outlet: “It’s impossible to estimate exactly how many Russian agents there are in the UK.
“Of course, there are different types – professed intelligence officers, known to be part of Russian diplomatic missions, and those operating covertly, trying to recruit agents and then sleeper agents in all sectors of society.
“Given our support for Ukraine, Russian intelligence will be heavily focused on operations inside the UK and could also include recruiting agents in political, defense and industrial bodies.”
The allegation comes after The Sun Online revealed it feared up to four Russian spies were operating in Westminster.
Former Russian spy Boris Karpichkov, 62, said: “I know four sleepers from Russian security services.
“There are several Parliament-sponsored organizations operating in Westminster that are directly linked to the operations of the Russian security service.”
Meanwhile, a suspected Russian spy in his 40s was arrested under the Official Secrets Act last week while attempting to leave the UK via Gatwick Airport.
He was taken to Hammersmith Police Station, where he was charged with espionage and sabotage “useful to an enemy state”.
A source told The Sun: “The suspect is believed to have been spying in the UK on behalf of the Putin regime.
“He was observed and arrested when he arrived at Gatwick to try to leave the country.”
British spy hunters are already on the alert for Russian agents attempting to unleash a cyberattack in response to Britain’s support for Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
Home Secretary Priti Patel earlier warned of “anti-Western cyberattacks” amid Putin’s bloody war in Ukraine.
Additionally, Lindy Cameron, head of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), warned of an “elevated cyber threat”.
Businesses and public services have been urged to take “preventive measures” to defend against an attack.
A possible cyber attack by Russia could have devastating consequences and even lead to war, a NATO official has warned.
A cyberattack on the West could trigger Article 5 – its Collective Defense Clause, invoked for the first time ever since 9/11.
NATO has made it clear for years that a major cyberattack could trigger the clause, but such a scenario has so far been hypothetical.
In the event of a Russian cyberattack, NATO allies would have to make a “political decision” on whether the attack is large enough to trigger Article 5.
Both Britain and the US have warned Russia against launching cyberattacks on Ukraine – which could impact the rest of the world.
For example, a Russian cyberattack on Ukraine affecting Poland — a NATO member state — could prompt the deployment of US troops.
On another occasion last month, Russian hackers threatened to shut down ventilators in hospitals across the UK after their comrade was arrested following a police raid.
The man was arrested on suspicion of supporting the Killnet group’s high-tech attack on government websites in Romania.
And his alleged comrades warned they would disable NHS ventilators if he is not released.
Cybercrime sources close to the investigation warned last night that the threat is credible.
There are a number of Russian agents previously known to have entered the UK.
Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are believed to be behind the poisoning of Sergei and Julia Skripal in Salisbury.
They were filmed “moments before the attack” by CCTV in Salisbury.
They arrived at the local train station before leaving the UK at Heathrow Airport.
They stayed at the City Stay Hotel in Bow, East London during their time in the UK.
Poisoner Dmitry Kovtun has been accused of murdering anti-Putin Alexander Litvinenko in London.
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https://www.the-sun.com/news/5593797/putin-sleeper-agent-spies-britain-prepare-cyber-attacks/ Putin ‘orders up to 50 sleeper agent spies to hide in Britain to prepare for cyberattacks against Britain’