Arrest of pair of alleged Russian spies shocks Sweden – The Observer

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Sergey Skvortsov and Elena Koulkova seemed to have a normal life. They have been living in a white-fronted house in Saltsjö-Bu, a suburb of Stockholm, since 2015. “They talked about gardening like everyone else in the area and were always friendly and welcoming”, reported A neighbor of the couple told British newspaper The Times. At 6am last Tuesday, everything changed.

That morning, two helicopters fly over the couple’s house. From there, an elite troop of the Swedish army entered through the window, while police cars parked near the house. It was all part of a second round of operations, and Swedish police director Stefan Hector later explained that the aim was to prevent any evidence being disposed of “into the toilet” or “by destruction”. Computers”.

The “friendly couple” was arrested after this highly complex police operation. This was based on a decision by the Swedish Attorney General’s Office, which accused Sergey Skvortsov of carrying out “serious illegal espionage activities” against Sweden and a foreign country over the past 10 years. The woman was his accomplice.

The defendants rejected the Swedish judge’s charges, but Sergei Skvortsov was detained while the woman was released on bail. Meanwhile, Swedish prosecutor Henrik Olin gave more details about the charges: The FBI helped the Swedish police, according to which the couple also collected intelligence services that compromised the security of the United States.

For this, the pair would have received illegal technology from the Russian military sector to help them accomplish the mission. Sweden was able to unravel the links between Sergey Skvortsov and the Russian intelligence services, which have been in contact for the past few years. however, Swedish authorities only started looking into the couple in 2016When a company owned by the two faced financial difficulties.

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A Russian couple from the Perm region near the Ural Mountains. Born in 1963, Sergey Skvortsov studied at the Moscow Engineering Institute, while his wife, a year younger, completed higher education in the Russian capital, but at the State University of Computational Mathematics. They married in 1994 and have a son who lives in Stockholm. Elena Kolkova has another daughter from another relationship.

Both moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.Sergey Skvortsov worked at several Swedish technology companies. Although they lived in Sweden, the couple bought an apartment in Moscow, in an area usually inhabited by many Russian secret agents. One of your neighbors Sergey Fedotov – Accused of poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal in London four years ago. In 2015, the house was named after Elena Kolkova’s daughter.

For the Swedish edition, Quoted According to Le Monde, Elena Koulkova obtained Swedish citizenship in January 2010. Two and a half years later her husband also got it.

The discovery of the case comes at a time when relations between Russia and Sweden are going through a critical moment. After the invasion of Ukraine, Stockholm wanted to join NATO, which displeased the Kremlin. The scandal is seen as another moment of tension between the two countries.

In turn, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, has already responded to the case, denouncing what she says is “anti-Russian fanaticism in the West.”🇧🇷 “This is a Russophobic campaign that has turned into an obsession with espionage in some countries.“, he alleged.

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