Since 2014, the intelligence centres have also been organising “agent-combat groups” deployed against Ukraine to carry out bombings and assassinations and prepare arms caches for activation when receiving a signal from Russia (for example, in the event of a major outbreak of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine).
In Ukraine, intelligence centres have organized bombings and murders and prepared arms caches.
Intelligence centres also recruit agents among residents of Russia. These agents receive special training so that they are ready to deploy to a target country in the event of, or in the run-up to, a conflict where they will carry out intelligence tasks (in particular observation) and also prepare to perform diversions or other special tasks. They can operate abroad in groups or as individual agents and are equipped, among other things, with radio transceivers to communicate with their intelligence centre.
The intelligence centres in Kaliningrad and Murmansk also recruit agents from among seamen (known as a “ship agent”, sudovoi agent). Among other activities, ship agents carry out visual reconnaissance in port cities worldwide.
Agents generally receive negligible financial remuneration for their assignments or even perform them free of charge. Many operational officers at the intelligence centres are corrupt and keep some of the agents’ pay for themselves.
Over the past decade, effective cooperation between intelligence services of NATO member states and partners has led to consistent identification and conviction of agents of GRU intelligence centres in countries bordering Russia.