The Directorate is reputedly Russia's largest foreign-intelligence agency. According to unverified statements by Stanislav Lunev, a defector from the GRU, in 1997 the agency deployed six times as many agents in foreign countries as the SVR, the successor of the KGB's foreign operations directorate (PGU KGB). It also commanded some 25,000 Spetsnaz troops as of 1997.
GRU Official emblem (until 2009) with motto engraved: "Greatness of the Motherland in your glorious deeds"
The first Russian body for military intelligence was established in 1810 by the War ministerMichael Andreas Barclay de Tolly who suggested to the emperor the creation of a permanent body for Strategic military intelligence. In January 1810, The Expedition for Secret Affairs under the War Ministry was formed. Two years later it was renamed the Special Bureau.
In 1815, the bureau became the First Department under the General Chief of Staff. In 1836 the intelligence functions were transferred to the Second Department under the General Chief of Staff. After many name changes through the years, in April 1906 the Military intelligence was carried out by the Fifth Department under the General Chief of Staff of the War Ministry.
The military human intelligence service thus established was originally known as the Registration Agency (Registrupravlenie, or Registrupr; Russian: Региструпр) of the Field Headquarters of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic.Simon Aralov was its first head. In his history of the early years of the GRU, Raymond W. Leonard writes:
As originally established, the Registration Department was not directly subordinate to the General Staff (at the time called the Red Army Field Staff – Polevoi Shtab). Administratively, it was the Third Department of the Field Staff's Operations Directorate. In July 1920, the RU was made the second of four main departments in the Operations Directorate. Until 1921, it was usually called the Registrupr (Registration Department). That year, following the Soviet–Polish War, it was elevated in status to become the Second (Intelligence) Directorate of the Red Army Staff, and was thereafter known as the Razvedupr. This probably resulted from its new primary peacetime responsibilities as the main source of foreign intelligence for the Soviet leadership. As part of a major re-organization of the Red Army, sometime in 1925 or 1926 the RU (then Razvedyvatelnoe Upravlenye) became the Fourth (Intelligence) Directorate of the Red Army Staff, and was thereafter also known simply as the "Fourth Department." Throughout most of the interwar period, the men and women who worked for Red Army Intelligence called it either the Fourth Department, the Intelligence Service, the Razvedupr, or the RU. […] As a result of the re-organization [in 1926], carried out in part to break up Trotsky's hold on the army, the Fourth Department seems to have been placed directly under the control of the State Defense Council (Gosudarstvennaia komissiia oborony, or GKO), the successor of the RVSR. Thereafter its analysis and reports went directly to the GKO and the Politburo, apparently even bypassing the Red Army Staff.
The first head of the 4th Directorate was Yan Karlovich Berzin, who remained in the post from March 1924 until April 1935 (subsequently, in 1938, he was arrested and executed as a Trotskyite).
The military intelligence was known in the Soviet government for its fierce independence from the rival "internal intelligence organizations", such as the NKVD, later the KGB. The military intelligence headquarters were located at Prechistenka street, west of the Kremlin, whereas the NKVD was in the very centre of Moscow, next to the building that housed People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs at the bottom of Kuznetsky Most. Due to this fact, the Soviet military intelligence came to be known in Soviet diplomats′ cant as distant neighbours (Russian: дальние соседи) as opposed to near neighbours, i.e. the NKVD/KGB intelligence officers. According to public statements of Soviet military intelligence veterans, the GRU had always been operationally subordinate to the KGB.
The GRU per se (under this name) was established by Joseph Stalin′s order of 16 February 1942. From April 1943, the GRU handled human intelligence exlusively outside the USSR.
In 2010, the official name of the unit was changed from "GRU" to the" Main Directorate of the Russian General Chief of Staff", or "G.U.", but "GRU" continued to be commonly used in media.
The GRU chief Igor Sergun′s death in early January 2016 caused speculations of foul play. At the helm of the GRU since late 2011, Igor Sergun was reported to have taken charge of the agency in the wake of the drastic cuts to the service implemented in the course of radical reorganization of the military at the hands of Defence Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov, and was credited with the GRU having recovered some of its former influence, most notably by playing a prominent role in the capture of Crimea in 2014 and the Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine after an FSB-orchestrated pro-Russian unrest largely fizzled out.
The tenure of Sergun′s successor, Igor Korobov, was marked by what was construed by the news media as multiple high-profile failures such as the thwarted 2016 coup d'état attempt in Montenegro and the failed 2018 Salisbury poisoning, as well as an unprecedented number of disclosed GRU agents. Korobov died on 21 November 2018, "after a serious and prolonged illness", according to the official defence ministry′s statement. His death provoked speculations and unverified reports of him having fallen ill in October that year, following a harsh dressing-down from president Vladimir Putin. However, former CIA station chief Daniel Hoffman, cautioned in 2017 that some of the Russian intelligence′s recent operations that appeared to be botched might have been ″discoverable influence operations″, i.e. operations that were meant to be discovered. Similarly, in 2019, Eerik-Niiles Kross, a former Intelligence Coordinator of the Government of Estonia (1995–2000) opined on the GRU′s apparent sloppiness: ″That kind of intelligence operation has become part of the psychological warfare. It’s not that they have become that much more aggressive. They want to be felt. It’s part of the game.”
The GRU is organized into numerous directorates.
The First Directorate is responsible for intelligence in Europe.
Unit 54777, alternately called the 72nd Special Service Center, is one of the GRU's primary psychological warfare capabilities. Unit 54777 retains several front organizations, including InfoRos and the Institute of the Russian Diaspora.
According to a Western assessment of the GRU seen by Reuters in the autumn of 2018, the GRU had a long-running program to run ‘illegal’ spies, i.e. those who work without diplomatic cover and who live under an assumed identity in foreign countries for years. The assessment said: “It plays an increasingly important role in Russia’s development of Information Warfare (both defensive and offensive). It is an aggressive and well-funded organization which has the direct support of – and access to – [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, allowing freedom in its activities and leniency with regards to diplomatic and legislative scrutiny."
Commonly known as the Spetsnaz GRU, it was formed in 1949. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Spetsnaz GRU remained intact as part of the Russian GRU until 2010, when it was reassigned to other agencies. In 2013, however, the decision was reversed and Spetsnaz GRU units were reassigned to GRU divisions and placed under GRU authority again.
According to the Federation of American Scientists: "Though sometimes compared to the US Defense Intelligence Agency, [the GRU's] activities encompass those performed by nearly all joint US military intelligence agencies as well as other national US organizations. The GRU gathers human intelligence through military attaches and foreign agents. It also maintains significant signals intelligence (SIGINT) and imagery reconnaissance (IMINT) and satellite imagery capabilities." Soviet GRU Space Intelligence Directorate had put more than 130 SIGINT satellites into orbit. GRU and KGB SIGINT network employed about 350,000 specialists.
On 9 November 2018, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that a 70-year-old retired army colonel was believed to have spied for Russia for years. The officer in question, whose name was not disclosed and who might have been approached under a false flag, was reported to have been engaged in selling official secrets to his GRU handlers from 1992 until September 2018. In July 2019, Austria′s Ministry of the Interior confirmed that the colonel′s handler was a Moscow-born GRU officer Igor Egorovich Zaytsev, a Russian national, for whom an international arrest warrant had been issued.
A Russian citizen named Artem Zinchenko was convicted of spying on Estonia for GRU in May 2017. In 2007 Deniss Metsavas, a Lasnamäe-born member of the Estonian Land Forces, was targeted with a honey trapping operation while visiting Smolensk. He was subsequently blackmailed into providing information to GRU handlers. His father, Pjotr Volin, was also recruited by GRU agents as leverage against Deniss, and would serve as a courier for classified information. On September 5, 2018, Major Deniss Metsavas and Pjotr Volin were charged with giving classified information to the GRU  The two were convicted in February 2019.
In September 2018 Finnish police ran a large scale operation against numerous sites owned by Airiston Helmi Oy company that over years accumulated land plots and buildings close to nationally significant key straits, ports, oil refineries and other strategic locations as well as two Finnish Navy vessels. The security operation was run in parallel in multiple locations, involving Finnish National Bureau of Investigation, local police, Tax Administration, Border Guard, and Finnish Defence Forces. During the operation a no-fly zone was declared over Turku Archipelago where key objects were located. While official cause given for the raid was multi-million euro money laundering and tax fraud, media speculated that the company might have been a cover for GRU preparing infrastructure for a surprise attack on Finnish locations in case of a conflict situation.
In December 2019, Le Monde reported that the joint effort by British, Swiss, French and U.S. intelligence agencies had discovered an apparent "rear base" of GRU in southeastern France, which was presumably used by GRU for the clandestine operations carried out throughout Europe. Investigators had identified 15 agents — all of them members of GRU's Unit 29155 — who visited Haute-Savoie in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpesregion of France from 2014 to 2018, including Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who are believed to be behind the poisoning of the former GRU colonel and British double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in 2018.
In September 2000, Japan expelled Captain Viktor Bogatenkov, a military attache at the Russian Embassy in Tokyo, on allegations of espionage. Bogatenkov was a GRU agent who received classified information from Shigehiro Hagisaki (萩嵜 繁博), a researcher at the National Institute for Defense Studies.
The two Russian nationals indicted by Montenegrin prosecution as the organisers of the attempted coup d'état in Montenegro in October 2016 are believed to be GRU officers. One of them, Eduard Vadimovich Shishmakov ("Shirokov") had been officially identified as GRU in October 2014, when Shishmakov, who then held the position of a deputy military attache at the Russian embassy in Poland, was declared persona non grata by the Polish government.
The Netherlands and Switzerland
In mid-September 2018, the Swiss press reported that two men allegedly working for the GRU had been arrested in The Hague, the Netherlands in the spring that year, after the Salisbury poisoning incident, for planning to hack the computer systems of the Spiez Laboratory, a Swiss institute analyzing chemical weapon attacks for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). In early October 2018, the government of the Netherlands announced they had arrested four GRU operatives on 13 April: the Russians allegedly attempted to launch a major ″close access″ cyberattack against the headquarters of the OPCW in the Hague and also intended to travel onwards to the Spiez laboratory in Switzerland, which was testing Novichok samples from Salisbury at the time. Investigation conducted by open-source intelligence outlets in the aftermath of the Dutch government's revelations that used Russian road police databases led to identification of further 305 GRU officers whose private cars were registered at GRU headquarters in Moscow. GRU officer Denis Vyacheslavovich Sergeev has also been documented as operating in Geneva and Lausanne.
On 13 February 2004, in Doha, two Russian men assassinatedZelimkhan Yandarbiyev, an exiled leader of Chechen rebels. Anatoly V. Belashkov and Vasily A. Bogachyov, thought to be GRU members, were found guilty of the murder by a Qatari criminal court, which said the men had acted under direct orders from the Russian leadership.
In 2018 Turkish government published CCTV videos from assassination of a Chechen commander Abdulvahid Edelgiriev, who was killed in 2015 in Istanbul, claiming the perpetrator was the same person as Anatoliy Chepiga ("Ruslan Boshirov") from Skripal assassination in UK.
In September 2018, the Crown Prosecution Service formally named two Russian nationals, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov (the names used by the men when entering the UK), as suspected perpetrators of the assassination attempt of the former GRU officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March 2018. As part of the charge announcement Scotland Yard released a detailed track of the individuals' 48 hours in the UK. This covered their arrival in the UK at Gatwick Airport, trip to Salisbury the day before the attack, trip to Salisbury on the day of the attack and return to Moscow via Heathrow Airport. The two men stayed both nights in the City Stay Hotel on Bow Road, East London and Novichok was found in their room after police sealed it off on 4 May 2018. British Prime Minister Theresa May told the Commons the same day that the suspects were part of the G.U. intelligence service (formerly known as GRU) and the assassination attempt was not a rogue operation and was "almost certainly" approved at a senior level of the Russian state.
As a side effect of the Skripal poisoning investigation, Russian and Western media reported conclusions made by open-source intelligence outlets that claimed that GRU operatives were issued Russian foreign travel passports with certain characteristics that would allow their tentative identification. Through further research, in the autumn of 2018, "Boshirov" was publicly exposed as Anatoliy Chepiga, a decorated GRU officer, and "Petrov" as Alexander Mishkin.
GRU officer Stanislav Lunev, who defected to the U.S. in 1992 while he was posted in Washington under the cover of a TASS news agency correspondent, in the 1990s publicized his claims that small nuclear weapons that could be fit into a knapsack or a briefcase or suitcase had been secretly pre-positioned in the U.S. and other countries around the world to be used for sabotage by Russia′s agents in the event of war.U.S. Congressman, Curt Weldon, pursued these claims publicly while admitting that they had been found largely spurious by the FBI. Searches of the areas identified by Lunev – who admitted he had never planted any weapons in the US – have been conducted, "but law-enforcement officials have never found such weapons caches, with or without portable nuclear weapons."
Lunev, Stanislav (12 September 1997). "Changes may be on the way for the Russian security services". PRISM. The Jamestown Foundation. 3 (14). Archived from the original on 25 November 2006. The GRU is Russia's largest security service. It deploys six times more officers in foreign countries than the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), which is the successor of the First Main Directorate of the KGB. Moreover, 25,000 spetsnaz troops are directly subordinated to the GRU, whereas the KGB's various successor-organizations have been deprived of their own military formations since 1991.
^"Putin Arrives in Style at Military Spy Base". The Moscow Times. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. Unlike its predecessor, a drab, redbrick monolith nicknamed the Aquarium, the new GRU complex is a futuristic glass-clad and bulletproof structure that bears more than a passing resemblance to the London headquarters of Britain's MI6 [...] The complex, whose construction began in 2003, cost 9.5 billion rubles ($357 million) to build, and incorporates an area of 70,000 square meters.
^Solovyov, Dmitry (April 24, 2009). "Russia's Medvedev sacks military spy chief". Reuters. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. President Dmitry Medvedev sacked Russia's most powerful intelligence chief Friday in a move that underscores strained ties with some of the military top brass over a Kremlin-backed reform of the armed forces. The Kremlin said Medvedev had signed a decree to dismiss General Valentin Korabelnikov, who has directed Russia's military intelligence service since 1997.
^"Russia military spy boss 'sacked'". BBC News. April 24, 2009. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. Gen Korabelnikov had been the head of military intelligence for 12 years and was a four-star general. Analysts say the 63-year-old was one of the main opponents of the planned military reforms, which could see the Russian armed forces shrink from 1.3 million serving men and women to one million. The majority of those cuts would come from the officer corps, which could see the loss of around 200,000 posts, including many generals. Some of the proposed reforms were said to have included the disbanding of several GRU-controlled army special forces (Spetsnaz) brigades and the redistribution of the command of some GRU structures to the SVR. Gen Korabelnikov is reported to have submitted his resignation in protest last November.
^Pike, John (November 27, 1997). "Signals Intelligence Programs and Activities". Federation of American Scientists. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. The GRU's Sixth Directorate uses over 20 different types of aircraft, a fleet of 60 SIGINT collection vessels, satellites, and ground stations to collect signals intelligence. Together with FAPSI, the GRU operates SIG1NT collection facilities in over 60 diplomatically protected facilities throughout the world. These agencies also operate large ground collection facilities within the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States, at Cam Rank Bay, Vietnam, and at Lourdes, Cuba.
^Aid, Matthew (29 July 2012). "Russia's Andreyevka SIGINT Station". Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. The station is located in the Maritime Province of the Russian Far East near the tiny village of Andreyevka (Google Earth transliterates the name as Andreevka) at the following geographic coordinates: 44-30-30N 133-28-28E. [...] Built during the mid-1970s by the Soviets, a former senior NSA official mentioned it to me in the late 1980s as being "the biggest and baddest of the Sov’s SIGINT stations.“ At the station’s peak during the Cold War, it was jointly manned by several hundred KGB and GRU (Soviet military intelligence) SIGINTers. Today, the station is owned and operated solely by the GRU, and it would appear that the station has not been upgraded with new equipment in quite some time.
^Aid, Matthew (May 12, 2012). "Soviet Eavesdropping Station Identified". Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. Andreyevka SATCOM Station: 44-30-30N 133-28-28E Some of these stations are still apparently active (the largest of which is the Andreyevka station near Vladivostok), although to what degree they are still working COMSAT targets cannot be determined from imagery available on Google Maps.
^Chase, Steven; Moore, Oliver; Baluja, Tamara (6 September 2012). "Ottawa expels Russian diplomats in wake of charges against Canadian". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. The Harper government has expelled staff at Russia’s embassy in the wake of charges filed against a Canadian military intelligence officer for allegedly passing secrets to a foreign power, The Globe and Mail has learned. [...] A Russian embassy official acknowledged the following three staffers have recently left Canada, saying, however, that all departures were routine: Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry V. Fedorchatenko, assistant defence attaché. Konstantin Kolpakov, attaché. Mikhail Nikiforov, with the administrative and technical staff. The embassy did not provide a clear explanation for the fourth name now gone from Canada’s official list of diplomatic, consular and foreign government representatives: Tatiana Steklova, who had been described as “administrative and technical staff.”
^Payton, Laura (20 January 2012). "Spying mystery deepens with lack of information". CBC News. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Initial media reports said up to four Russian Embassy staff had been removed from a list of embassy and diplomatic staff recognized by Canada. CBC News has confirmed that two have had their credentials revoked since news broke of the naval officer's arrest, while two diplomats left the country a month or more before the arrest this week of Canadian Sub.-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle.
^"Estonia Sentences Russian Spy to Five Years in Prison". The Moscow Times. 8 May 2017. Archived from the original on 13 May 2017. Retrieved 13 May 2017. Zinchenko has lived in Estonia on a residence permit since 2013. The Estonian court determined that he was recruited by Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) in 2009, and spent the next four years collecting information about troop movements in Estonia, and about objects of national importance. [...] Zinchenko reportedly passed sensitive information to members of the GRU on multiple occasions, both by means of special communication and in person, on visits to St. Petersburg.
^Jones, Bruce (9 May 2017). "Tallinn jails GRU agent spying on Estonian and NATO forces". Jane's Information Group. Retrieved 13 May 2017. Artem Zinchenko, a Russian citizen legally resident in Estonia since 2013, was convicted on 8 May of espionage for Russia's GRU military intelligence organisation. Recruited in 2009 and arrested in January 2017, Zinchenko was sentenced to five years for spying on locations, equipment, and manoeuvres of Estonian and NATO forces and critical infrastructure.
^Petriashvili, Diana (28 September 2006). "Tbilisi Claims Russian Troop Movements in Response to Spy Dispute". EurasiaNet. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. A Tbilisi city court September 29 ordered two Russian officers arrested in the Georgian capital, Dmitri Kazantsyev and Alexander Savva, and seven Georgian citizens to be held in pre-trial detention. The Russian consul in Georgia, Valeri Vasiliyev, told Rustavi-2 television that a lawyer for the officers had not been allowed into the courtroom. The Georgian Interior Ministry did not immediately comment on the allegation. The court also passed the same ruling for Konstantin Pichugin, who has been accused of espionage, but who is believed to be inside Russia's regional military headquarters, which remained surrounded by police for a second day. Moscow has refused to surrender Pichugin.
^"Georgia Arrests Russian 'Intelligence Operatives'". Civil Georgia. 27 September 2006. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Georgia's counter-intelligence service arrested four Russian military intelligence (GRU - Glavnoye Razvedovatelnoye Upravlenie) officers and eleven citizens of Georgia who were cooperating with Russian intelligence services, Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili said on September 27 [...] He said that two Russian intelligence operatives were arrested in Tbilisi - GRU colonel Alexander Sava, who was allegedly the chief of the group operating in Georgia, and Dimitri Kazantsev. Two others - Alexander Zavgorodny and Alexander Baranov - were arrested in Batumi, the Georgian Interior Minister said.
^"Officer admits giving secrets to Russian spy". The Japan Times. November 28, 2000. Hagisaki told the Tokyo District Court that he handed the MSDF documents to Viktor Bogatenkov, 44, in violation of the SDF Law. Bogatenkov, who reportedly is an agent of the Russian intelligence agency GRU, was with Hagisaki when he was arrested but refused to submit to questioning and returned to Moscow two days later.
^Reuters (13 June 2017). Osborn, Andrew (ed.). "Russia Says Report Its Moldova Diplomats Recruited Fighters Is 'Gossip': RIA". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 June 2017. Allegations that five Russian diplomats expelled from Moldova last month recruited fighters for the Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine were "idle gossip", the RIA news agency quoted a deputy Russian foreign minister as saying on Tuesday. Grigory Karasin made the comment shortly after Reuters published an exclusive report citing Moldovan government and diplomatic sources as saying that the five were ejected because of their alleged activities as undercover officers with the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU.
^Walsh, Nick Paton (June 13, 2006). "Land of the warlords". The Guardian. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. Sulim Yamadayev: heads 1000 strong East battalion, controlled by the chief intelligence directorate (GRU) of the Russian military. Dislikes Kadyrov [...] Said Magomed Kakiev: commander of 900-strong "West" battalion, also under GRU control. Dislikes Kadyrov.
^"Spies Still Everywhere, GRU Says". The Moscow Times. July 17, 2003. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. GRU commando units operate in the armed forces to provide field intelligence and carry out special operations, such as the penetration and elimination of enemy units. The military actively employs GRU commandoes in Chechnya, where they have proven to be about the most able of all military units. More than 300 commandos, intelligence officers and other GRU personnel have died in fighting in Chechnya, Korabelnikov said.
^McGregor, Andrew (26 October 2006). "Chechen Troops Accompany Russian Soldiers in Lebanon". Jamestown Foundation. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. In a surprise move, the Russian Defense Ministry assigned security responsibility for its team of military engineers in Lebanon to two detachments of Chechen troops [...] The East and West battalions of Chechen troops are controlled by the Russian military intelligence (GRU) and do not report directly to the Chechen government.
^Weiss, Michael (September 1, 2016). "Russia Puts Boots on the Ground in Syria". The Daily Caller. Archived from the original on 2 September 2015. In October 2014, the Free Syrian Army sacked a Russian listening post in Tel al-Hara, south of the Quneitra border crossing with Israel. Its location was key. A YouTube video showed a Syrian officer giving the rebels a guided tour of the office building attached to the facility. Documents hanging on the wall, in both Arabic and Russian, including the symbols for Syrian intelligence and 6th Directorate of Russia’s military intelligence agency (GRU), and photos showed spies from both countries hard at work deciphering intercepts. Maps displayed rebel positions; they also showed coordinates of Israel Defense Force units.
^Fitsanakis, Joseph (9 October 2014). "Secret Russian spy base in Syria seized by Western-backed rebels". intelNews. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014. At some point in the video, the seal of Syrian intelligence is clearly visible, placed next to the seal of the GRU’s 6th Directorate, the branch of Russian military intelligence that is tasked with collecting signals intelligence (SIGINT).
^Matthews, Owen. "Erdogan and Putin: Strongmen in love". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. The electronic intelligence was gathered, according to the report, by a Russian listening station at Hmemim Airport near Latakia, Syria, operated by the Sixth Directorate of GRu military intelligence.
^Tsvetkova, Maria (November 5, 2015). "New photos suggest Russia's operation in Syria stretches well beyond its air campaign". Business Insider. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. CIT also published screenshots from the Instagram page of Ilya Gorelykh, who it said had served in Russia's GRU special forces in the past [...] In late October it showed he had uploaded pictures from Aleppo, one of which showed him holding an assault rifle while wearing civilian clothes. Another image of him posing in camouflage with three other armed men was apparently taken in Homs.
^"Beyond the airstrikes: Russia's activities on the ground in Syria". November 8, 2015. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. We believe that Russia's operation in Syria is a "hybrid war", not unlike the one seen in Ukraine. Apart from the airstrikes, Russia provides Assad forces with surface-to-surface rocket systems, combat vehicles, equipment, advisors, artillery support and spotters. More importantly, recently there have been more and more reports of Russian soldiers, vehicles and "volunteers" being spotted close to the frontlines.
^Steve Goldstein and Chris Mondics, "Some Weldon-backed allegations unconfirmed; Among them: A plot to crash planes into a reactor, and missing suitcase-size Soviet atomic weapons." Philadelphia Inquirer (15 March 2006) A7.
^Poulsen, Kevin (20 July 2017). "Putin's Hackers Now Under Attack—From Microsoft". The Daily Beast. Also known as APT28, Sofacy, Pawn Strorm and Strontium—Microsoft’s preferred moniker—Fancy Bear has been conducting cyber espionage since at least 2007, breaching NATO, Obama’s White House, a French television station, the World Anti-Doping Agency and countless NGOs, and militaries and civilian agencies in Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus.
^Collier, Kevin (20 July 2018). "The Russians Who Hacked The DNC Have Targeted At Least Three 2018 Campaigns, Microsoft Says". BuzzFeed News. Speaking on a panel at the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday, Tom Burt, Microsoft's vice president for customer security and trust, said that his team had discovered a spear-phishing campaign targeting three candidates running for election in 2018. Analysts traced them to a group Microsoft has nicknamed Strontium, which is closely tracked by every major threat intelligence company and is widely accepted to be run by the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency.