Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Open call by Western security experts: Allies should join the UK and expel undeclared contingents of Russian intelligence officers.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back”. 

They are of course not going far enough, the influence networks and organised crime networks need to be rooted out as well.

Russia has such a history of breaking all the rules, intimidating most neighboring countries, and operating in areas just short of illegal – which are clearly immoral and unethical, that many of the countries of the world are saying “enough”.  

Russia must realize it is exceeding the limits of tolerance, stop acting bellicose and become a mature actor, a great nation among great nations. 

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The Russian Federation’s international aggression under Vladimir Putin’s leadership is unprecedented in the post-Cold War era. Russia’s recent track record includes the invasion of neighboring countries, massive bombings and killings of civilians, repeated violations of international borders, kidnapping of foreign citizens, highly belligerent disinformation campaigns, harassment of foreign diplomats, extensive cyber-attacks, and the first annexation of foreign territory by force in Europe since World War II.

With the ‘Salisbury poisoning’, the Kremlin has added yet another tool to its list of hostile tactics against Western democracies, which the UK government has declared an “unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom”. Russia’s use of a military-grade nerve agent in an attempted assassination on UK soil has been condemned by NATO allies as “the first offensive use of a nerve agent on Alliance territory since NATO’s foundation”. In reprisal for the incident, the British government has enacted new measures against the Russian Federation, including the expulsion of 23 “undeclared intelligence officers”.

Given the trajectory of Russian hostile activity and this repugnant offense against a NATO member state, we call upon NATO and EU allies to join our British friends and expel contingents of Russian intelligence officers from their soil.

Many allied states have experienced harassment by Russian diplomatic missions on their soil, which are disproportionately larger than their foreign counterparts due to harboring significant numbers of undeclared intelligence officers. These states are often concerned about retaliation by Russia should they attempt to crack down on these Russian intelligence nests on their territory. Mitigating this concern, a joint initiative by allies would effect considerable pressure on Moscow to stop its malicious pursuits. Such an initiative would show the Kremlin that an attack on one means an attack on all, and it would also allow smaller allied countries to limit Russian intelligence capabilities on their own soil without the fear of being singled out.

We believe that it is high time for Western governments to start taking seriously the threat posed by Russia and respond to the Kremlin’s increasingly audacious aggression with resolute diplomatic and counter-intelligence measures.

This Open Call is coordinated by the Kremlin Watch Program at the European Values Think-Tank.


  • Angela Adamova, Member, BOETC NGO, Bulgaria
  • Willem Aldershoff, Former Head of Unit, European Commission, Belgium
  • Karl Altau, Managing Director, Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC), USA
  • Kamil Basaj, Project Manager, INFO OPS, CEO @Disinfo_Digest, Poland
  • Valdis Bērziņš, Foreign news editor, Latvijas Avize daily, Latvia
  • Stephen Blank, Senior Fellow, American Foreign Policy Council, USA
  • Anda Burve-Rozite, Journalist, Latvian weekly analytical magazine IR, Latvia
  • Eto Buziashvili, Security Programs Director, Georgian Strategic Analysis Center, Georgia
  • Mike Cock, Professor, Sutherland Heights Institute of Technology, United States
  • Halyna Coynash, Member, Kharkiv Human Rights Group, Ukraine
  • Simas Čelutka, Head, European Security Programme at Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis, Lithuania
  • Tomáš Čižik, Director, Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs (CENAA), Slovakia
  • Kramer David , Former Assistant Secretary, State for Democracy and Human Rights, US
  • Angelov Dimitar, Professeur émérite, CNRS, France
  • Steffen Dobbert, Editor, ZEIT ONLINE, Germany
  • Momchil Doychev Badkjakov, Associated Professor Dr. Political Sciences, Atlantic Council, Bulgaria
  • Nino Evgenidze, Executive Director, Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC), Georgia
  • Jonathan Eyal,  Associate Director, Strategic Research Partnerships, and International Director, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, United Kingdom
  • Roland Freudenstein, Policy Director, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, Belgium
  • Paata Gaprindashvili, Director, Georgia’s Reforms Associates, Georgia
  • Jeffrey Gedmin, Former president of RFE/RL, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council, USA
  • Ivan Gerginov, Member, Atlantic Council of Bulgaria, Bulgaria
  • Rob Gill, Member, Irish Ukrainian Solidarity Assoc., Ireland
  • Mykhailo Gonchar, President, CGS Strategy XXI, Ukraine
  • Hans-Jorgen Gotsche, International Secretary, Alleanza Liberali , Malta
  • Gustav Gressel, Senior Policy Fellow, ECFR, Germany
  • Stepan Grigoryan, Former MP, Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation, Armenia
  • Melinda Haring, Editor, UkraineAlert blog, Atlantic Council, USA
  • Michael Helmersson, Member, The Swedish Liberal party, Sweden
  • Müller Christoph , Staff Sergeant, German Armed Forces, Germany
  • Boris Chykulay, Member, The Forum of the Ukrainians in the Czech Republic, Ukraine
  • Wojciech Jakóbik, Analyst, Energy sector, Poland
  • Denton James, President, World Afairs Institute, USA
  • Elena Karacharova, Director, Global Earth Liaison, Ukraine
  • Paul Kariya, Member, University of Maine, USA
  • Vytautas Keršanskas, Member, Eastern Europe Studies Centre, Lithuania
  • Tinatin Khidasheli, Chairperson, Civic_IDEA, Georgia
  • Maksym Khylko, Chairman of the Board, East European Security Research Initiative Foundation, Ukraine
  • Emilija Kilinskaitė, Chairman Vilnius Chapter, Young Conservative League, Lithuania
  • Tamar Kintsurashvili, Member, Media Development Foundation, Georgia
  • James Kirchick, Visiting Fellow, Brookings Institution, USA
  • Andrzej Kozłowski, Journalist,, Poland
  • Marius Laurinavičius, Senior expert, Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis, Lithuania
  • Jeffrey Lebowski, Department of Political Studies, University of Michigan, USA
  • Adam Lelonek, President, Center for Propaganda and Disinformation Analysis, Poland
  • Radu Magdin, Former advisor to the Romanian Prime Minister, International analyst, Romania
  • Rey Marcin, Blogger, Rosyjska V Kolumna w Polsce, Poland
  • Juraj Mesík, Energy and climate advisor, Slovak Foreign Policy Association, Slovakia
  • Vladimir Milenski, Colonel (ret) , Bulgarian Army, Bulgaria
  • Orhan Myumyun, Member, Atlantic Council of Bulgaria, Bulgaria
  • Mihail Naydenov , Member, Atlantic Council of Bulgaria, Bulgaria
  • Andrej Novak, Senior Consultant, European Cosmopolitan Consulting, Germany
  • Vít Novotný, Senior Research Officer, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, Belgium
  • Evan O’Connell, Political Strategist and Communications Consultant, Paris, France
  • Potiekhin Oleksandr, Historian, Principal research fellow, Institute of World History NAS of Ukraine, Ukraine
  • Zygimantas Pavilionis, Chair of Democracy Subcommittee, Lithuanian Parliament, Lithuania
  • Tudor Radu, Defence Analyst, Antena 3, Romania
  • Dimitar Rusev, Member, Atlantic Council of Bulgaria, Bulgaria
  • Kavatsiuk Ruslan, Advisor to Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine , Government of Ukraine, Ukraine
  • Giedrius Sakalauskas, Director, Res Publica, Lithuania
  • Korneliy Savoa, Member, Atlantic Council of Bulgaria, Bulgaria
  • Gvineria Shota, Senior Fellow, EPRC, Georgia
  • Eugeniusz Smolar, Senior Fellow, Member of the Board, Center for International Relations, Poland
  • Vladimir Socor, Senior Fellow, Jamestown Foundation, USA
  • Krassen Stanchev, Board Chairman, Institute for Market Economics, Bulgaria
  • Boyko Stankushev, Member, Atlantic Council of Bulgaria, Bulgaria
  • Alice Stollmeyer, Executive Director, Defending Democracy, Belgium
  • Paulius V. Subačius, Professor , Vilnius University, Lithuania
  • David Svoboda, Historian, ÚSTR, Czech Republic
  • Boris Todev, Member, Government of Alberta, Canada
  • Simeon Toptchiyzski, Managing Director, Balkanplan EOOD, Bulgaria
  • Marcel H. Van Herpen, Director, Cicero Foundation, Netherlands
  • Iliev Venelin, Colonel (ret), Bulgarian Army, Bulgaria
  • Natalie Vogel, External Fellow at the Kremlin Watch Program, European Values Think-Tank, Germany
  • Michel Waelbroeck, Professeur émérite, ULB, Switzerland
  • Tornike Zurabashvili, Editor-in-Chief,, Georgia



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