The head of Britain’s MI6 intelligence service, which is focused on foreign security threats, has warned Russia that it should not underestimate London's ability to deal with complicated sabotage cases, saying that the country is launching a new generation of espionage activities that could take the adversaries by surprise.
Alex Younger said in a speech to students at the University of St Andrews, in Scotland, on Monday that Britain and allies were not willing to allow Russia to believe that it can easily launch sabotage activities in the country.
“Russia or any other state intent on subverting our way of life not to underestimate our determination and our capabilities, or those of our allies,” said Younger, adding that countries like Russia who regard themselves as being in a state of “perpetual confrontation” with the UK posed serious threats to the country.
Since March, Russia and Britain have been locked in a dispute over an alleged attack on a former Russian double spy in the southern English city of Salisbury. London believes Russia’s military intelligence service GRU targeted Segei Skripal and his daughter.
Russia says the case was a fabrication by MI6 to enable the British government to pile more pressure on Russia and to undermine efforts for normalization of West-Moscow ties amid a conflict in Ukraine.
Younger said that MI6 played a huge role in exposing the poisoning attack on Skripals while it coordinated the expulsion of Russian diplomats over the case.
The top British spy said that in response to increasing threats from Russia and other countries, Britain was developing a “fourth generation” of espionage that was far more sophisticated in nature and used modern methods of spying on other nations.
“The era of the fourth industrial revolution calls for a fourth generation of espionage: fusing our traditional human skills with accelerated innovation, new partnerships and a mindset that mobilizes diversity and empowers the young,” he said.
Further elaborating, Younger, who has led MI6 for the past four years, said the secret intelligence service was looking to recruit from the youth with different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
“I want to speak to young people who have never seen themselves in MI6,” said Younger, adding, “It doesn't matter where you are from. If you want to make a difference and you think you might have what it takes, then the chances are that you do have what it takes, and we hope you will step forward.”