site.btaFive Bulgarians Accused of Spying for Russia Appear at Westminster Court
Five Bulgarian nationals accused of spying for Russia have appeared in a London court by video link, Reuters reports.
The three men and two women are charged with conspiracy to collect information intended to be directly or indirectly useful to the enemy with intent to harm the security and interests of the state. Their activities took place between August 30, 2020 and February 8, 2023.
The five Bulgarian nationals living in London and Norfolk were arrested in February and accused of being part of an organised network which carried out surveillance on named targets for the benefit of Russia.
The purpose of the surveillance was to help Moscow carry out operations to harm those targets, including potential kidnappings, the BBC noted.
No request for bail was made and the five remained in custody. They will next appear at a hearing at London's Old Bailey Court on October 13. Three of the accused have already been charged with identity-related offences and are expected to appear before the same court on Thursday to answer those charges.
The UK has sought to take tougher action against foreign security threats and potential spies and in July passed a national security law aimed at reviewing the means of deterring espionage and foreign interference. London then described Russia as the most serious threat to its security.
So far, there has been no comment from the Russian embassy on the charges against the Bulgarians, Reuters notes.