Britain’s MI6 chief encourages Russian defectors to spy for the United Kingdom: ‘Our door is always open’


The leader of the United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6, gave a rare speech in Prague Wednesday during which he encouraged Russians opposed to the war in Ukraine to spy for the British, telling any defectors from the Kremlin, “Our door is always open.”  

“There are many Russians today who are silently appalled by the sight of their armed forces pulverizing Ukrainian cities, expelling innocent families from their homes and kidnapping thousands of children,” MI6 chief Richard Moore said from the British embassy in Prague, according to The Telegraph. “They are watching in horror as their soldiers ravage a kindred country. They know in their hearts that Putin’s case for attacking a fellow Slavic nation is fraudulent, a miasma of lies and fantasy.”

Moore stated that “many Russians are wrestling with the same dilemmas and the same tugs of conscience” as those a generation ago did in 1968 when Soviet tanks crushed the Prague spring uprisings. 

“I invite them to do what others have already done this past 18 months and join hands with us. Our door is always open,” the U.K. Secret Intelligence Service chief said. “We will handle their offers of help with the discretion and professionalism for which my service is famed. Their secrets will always be safe with us.”


MI6 Chief Richard Moore delivers speech in London in 2021

MI6 Chief Richard Moore speaks at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, on Nov. 30, 2021. He gave his second-ever public speech as MI6 chief on July 19, 2023, at the British embassy in Prague. (Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images)

“And together we will work to bring the bloodshed to an end,” Moore added. 

Moore told the audience at the British ambassador’s residence in the Czech capital that his spies are already using artificial intelligence to disrupt the flow of weapons to Russia. 

In his speech, which depicted artificial intelligence as both a huge potential asset and a major threat, Moore said his staff at Britain’s foreign intelligence agency “are combining their skills with AI and bulk data to identify and disrupt the flow of weapons to Russia for use against Ukraine.”

Moore further stated that the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin was beset by “venality, infighting and callous incompetence” and that the mutiny by Wagner Group mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin had “exposed the inexorable decay of the unstable autocracy over which Putin presides.” He said Putin was “under pressure” after the brief rebellion and the “humiliating” deal he struck with the help of Belarus to end it. The Kremlin has reported that Prigozhin attended a military meeting in Moscow with Putin after the mutiny.

“Prigozhin started off as a traitor at breakfast, he had been pardoned by supper, and then two days later he was invited for tea,” Moore said Wednesday, “So there are some things that even the chief of MI6 finds a little bit difficult to interpret, in terms of who’s in and who’s out.”

Putin attends meeting about an attack on the Crimean bridge

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting via a video link at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 17, 2023. (Alexander Kazakov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)


Most intelligence defectors’ names are never known – unless something goes wrong, according to The Associated Press. Former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned and seriously sickened with a Soviet-made nerve agent in 2018 in the English city of Salisbury, where he had been living quietly for years.

MI6 Chief Richard Moore delivers first public speech in London

“We will handle their offers of help with the discretion and professionalism for which my service is famed,” Richard Moore said in making his offer to Russians opposed to the war in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

Moore recounted how an agent codenamed Ecclesiastic, who penetrated German intelligence for MI6 in 1944, was looked after by the service until her death, aged 100. He said MI6 agents then gathered to scatter her ashes in the English Channel.


“Our loyalty to our agents is lifelong, and our gratitude eternal,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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