‘Russian spies working to boost opposition to US base’

September 26th, 2008 - 4:00 am ICT by IANS  

Prague, Sep 26 (DPA) Czech counter-intelligence said Thursday that Russian spies have worked to boost opposition to a planned US missile defence radar base in the former Communist country.The Czech Republic’s Security Information Service (BIS) said in its 2007 annual report that Russian spies “tried to contact, infiltrate and influence” civic groups, media and politicians in order to spur “the public’s opposition to the radar”.

The agency said “Russian espionage activities in the Czech Republic have currently reached an exceptionally high intensity” and could be part of broader efforts to “disturb (European Union) EU and (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) NATO integrity, isolate the US… and renew control over the lost Soviet security perimeter in Europe”.

The report does not include specific examples of such efforts. A Czech anti-radar group No to Bases rejected earlier this year speculations of being financed by Russian intelligence.

The US is seeking to place a tracking radar in a military zone southwest of Prague and 10 interceptor missiles in neighbouring Poland, despite Russia’s objections.

State-funded polling institute CVVM in repeated surveys have found that at least 60 percent of Czechs oppose the US base.

Washington and Prague sealed two treaties on building the base on Czech soil. The pacts require approval by lawmakers, who could begin debating them as soon as October.

Russia views the system as a security threat despite US assurances that it is being developed against long-range missiles from so-called rogue states such as Iran.

The US has so far failed to win over Russia, which has threatened to aim missiles at the Central European bases.

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