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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spying on the Increase, Ex-KGB Says

The end of the Cold War has only lengthened the list of potentially hostile countries that have started sending spies swarming into Russia, the country's top spycatcher said Tuesday.

This means that a good spycatching network is more urgently needed than ever, said Federal Counterintelligence Service boss Sergei Stepashin in an interview in Komsomolskaya Pravda.

"I would like to remind you of President Boris Yeltsin's words to me at our most recent meeting: Russia, the state and the president all need a strong secret service," Stepashin said.

A series of expulsions from Moscow, Washington and London this year has disrupted the long post-Soviet honeymoon between Russia and the West.

Stepashin said CIS countries remained the prime target for the West.

With ideological loyalties a thing of the past, Stepashin said Moscow's former socialist allies in eastern Europe had started monitoring the CIS, and three North Korean spies had been cuaght.

"We know the eastern European special services are secretly in touch with their NATO counterparts, who are giving them financial and technical aid."

Stepashin denied that his service's function now was more words than deeds. "No, no. Spycatchers are still mostly men of action."