Russia Accuses British Council of Spying for Ukraine

Russia’s FSB on Wednesday said the British Council, a UK agency in charge of education and culture, has been gathering information for Ukraine’s intelligence.

Russia’s security service alleged the agency, which ceased activities in Russia since 2018, had been gathering information in parts of the Kherson region occupied by Russian forces.

“Through organizations under its control (the British Council) carried out intelligence activities in the interests of Kyiv,” the FSB said.

Contacted by AFP, the British Council did not immediately comment.

The FSB alleged it “used Ukrainian refugees living in the UK to obtain military and political intelligence via their contacts in the Kherson region.”

It said that a resident of Novaya Maitchka, controlled by Russian forces, turned to the occupying authorities to report the alleged crime.

The FSB added it would be carrying out “checks” in the area and warned it could prosecute people for “confidential collaboration with a government,” a crime punishable by eight years in prison.

The British council was founded in 1934. It received UK government funding but operates independently.

Moscow banned the British Council in 2018, after London accused Russia of poisoning Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

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