Up to 40 Russian spies are working undercover in Ireland and hiding in the general population

Up to 40 Russian spies are working undercover in Ireland, we have learned.

Senior security sources told the Mirror that the intelligence services now have dozens of men and women working for them here – gathering information to pass on to Moscow.

“Their intelligence operation here is very important,” a source said last night – after it emerged an unmasked Russian military spy had spent more than four years living and working in Ireland.

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Sources said the case of the GRU officer – who claimed to be a Brazilian national called Viktor Muller Ferreira and who studied at Trinity College Dublin between 2014 and 2018 – was just the tip of the iceberg.

A senior source told the Mirror that Russia has spent years building up its intelligence assets in Ireland – and there are now up to 40 of their agents and sympathizers here.

The sources said Russia views Ireland as strategically important due to our location on the western flank of Europe. They added that the spies were trying to access information about all aspects of Irish society – including politics, business, civil service, as well as the Garda and Defense Forces. But the sources also said the agents were using Ireland as a base to gather intelligence about Britain – particularly its military capabilities.

And Ireland is also considered important because we are on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean – a strategically vital area.

It is understood that Garda and Defense Force security officials have informed high-level politicians that some Russian intelligence operatives work from its embassy in south Dublin – but most are hiding among the general population.

The government expelled four Russian diplomats suspected of being spies in March – but others are still there, sources said.

A handful of diplomats at the 30-strong embassy are thought to be agents – and up to 35 who work outside.

An insider told the Mirror last night: ‘You’re probably talking between 30 and 40 in the country right now. Some are based at the embassy, ​​but that’s a minority.

“Most are not attached to the embassy.

“They have their own jobs and are friendly to Moscow and pass on all the information they get.

“But some are full-time officers. Others also use Ireland to rest after other assignments, to undergo further training or education.

The source also said the security services were unaware that the spy posing as a Brazilian student at Trinity was an intelligence agent.

He was only unmasked earlier this week after the Dutch intelligence service AIVD named him and shamed him.

The AIVD said Ferreira – whose real name is Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov of the GRU’s military intelligence unit – was targeting the Hague-based International Criminal Court. This court investigates Russian war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine – and the Dutch say Cherkasov tried to get there as an intern.

Online investigators then found his CV – where he claimed to have spent more than four years in Dublin.

Cherkasov used the Brazilian name Viktor Muller Ferreira and lived in Ireland between 2014 and 2018, according to his online CV.

Ferreira says he studied at Trinity from 2014 to 2018, earning a degree in political science and quantitative research methods.

Trinity said she could not comment yesterday, but sources confirmed that Cherkasov – who also studied at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University in the US – attended the university under an assumed name.

The source said he did not come to the attention of staff – and no one had any idea he was a spy.

They added, “If Johns Hopkins didn’t know, neither do we.”

The Russian Embassy did not respond to a MIrror question last night.

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