VLADIMIR Putin has deployed a secret GRU death squad to assassinate targets and “spread turmoil in Europe”, reports say.
The formerly-secret team of killers, known as Unit 29155, are believed to have been behind four major missions.
Those include the Salisbury poisonings of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March last year.
Along with two unsuccessful operations, one to destabilise Moldova and a coupe in Montenegro.
They also attempted to assassinate arms dealer Emilian Gebrev in Bulgaria twice.
A retired GRU officer with knowledge of the unit told the New York Times that they conduct attacks to distract from major events.
‘BOMBINGS, MURDERS, ANYTHING’
The source claimed the killers can work “in groups or individually” and conduct “bombings, murders, anything.”
Unit 29155 are believed to have operated for over a decade.
They are said to comprise of highly trained military veterans from the wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Ukraine.
‘EXTREME MALIGN ACTIVITY’
The former-officer told the Times: “They were serious guys who served there.
“They were officers who worked undercover and as international agents.”
Despite their notable military records the unnamed individual was “shocked” by their actions.
“[They] felt free to go ahead and carry out this extreme malign activity in friendly countries,” the source said.
THE SALISBURY POISONINGS
Most recently the group tried to take-out targets in Salisbury, Wiltshire, in 2018.
There individuals sprayed nerve agent onto the door handle of the Skripals’ home.
Sergei, became a double agent to spy for Britain, and Yulia spent several weeks in hospital recovering.
It was believed that he was on their hit list for his “betrayal” of Russia.
The two Russian agents behind it were identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.
They were caught on CCTV moments before the attack on March 4.
Months later, cops found traces of the same nerve agent – Novichok – in their hotel room in Bow, East London.
While the Skripal’s survived, one woman Dawn Sturgess died after she sprayed the fluid onto her skin believing it was perfume.
Putin is also alleged to have dispatched them to Montenegro in 2016, to stage a coup and to murder their prime minister.
It was believed to be an attempt to prevent the nation from joining NATO – which Russia strictly opposed.
Two GRUs along with 20 Serbians and Montenegrins planned to storm the Parliament building in Podgorica.
But the plot was thwarted by intelligence services and many of those involved put on trial.
TWO ATTEMPTED MURDERS
In 2015, two attempts also were made to poison Emilian Gebrev, a Bulgarian arms dealer.
Once in Sofia, the nation’s capital city, and a second time at his home located near to the Black Sea.
Additionally, the unit allegedly tried to destabilise Moldova by recruiting Moscow-backed fighters there.
Other cold cases are now being analysed to see if there are any links back to this famous GRU hit squad or Russia.
Prior to details revealed by the former-GRU source the four attacks were unconnected.
Since then, intelligence services from four Western countries have expressed concerns about Unit 29155.
Their worries stem from not knowing where or when the group will strike next.
Two other unnamed officials in Europe considered them to be a “credible” threat.
‘THEY CAN GET TO ANYONE’
The source stated that the failed operations should not be confused for “sloppiness”.
They said: “In each case they were able to hit the target and in some cases even eliminate it.”
The source added that the group has “proven they can get to anyone”.
‘THE RUSSIANS ARE INVOLVED’
They have also not hidden who sent them, the source claims, “[it’s] obvious when the Russians are involved”.
National security expert Dr. Victor Maderia said that the group has not become “that much more aggressive”.
He said that the West’s poor push back against Russia’s action in Estonia, Georgia and Ukraine has increased confidence.
Dr. Madeira believes it is all part of the political and psychological battle with the West over the past 12 years.
But now he believes: “They want to be felt. It’s part of the game.”