In one year, the number of Russian diplomats in Hungary has increased by 30 percent. More and more EU countries are expelling Russian diplomats because of the invasion of Ukraine. Some people even go as far as speculating whether Russian diplomats could serve as intelligence agents.
More Russian diplomats in Hungary
The data compiled by Direkt36 journalist Szabolcs Panyi shows that the number of Russian diplomats in Hungary has increased by 30 percent in a year. The opposite trend can be observed among European Union countries, where the number of Russian diplomats is decreasing due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
The Hungarian opposition protested against the war in March with a crossed-out portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The venue was the International Investment Bank, where two Russian executives are registered as diplomats.
“The Hungarian government is visibly refraining from any gesture that would alienate Russia, and it is in line with this trend that we are not banning Russian diplomats,” Panyi told RTL news.
At the end of November 2021, 46 Russian diplomats were serving in Hungary, rising to 62 in October this year. According to Szabolcs Panyi’s collection, there are 35 Russian diplomats in London, 20 in Warsaw and 15 in Bratislava.
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Are these diplomats informers in disguise?
According to József Kis Benedek, a security policy expert and former military intelligence officer, some diplomats are likely to be engaged in intelligence gathering in addition to their public mission.
“Based on my experience, I can say that the number of Russian diplomats is quite high in the country, so about 60-70 percent of them may be tied to conducting some kind of intelligence service,” he said.
According to Péter Krekó, Director of Political Capital, some of the Russian diplomats are aiming to influence the political climate in their country. “In Greece, for example, these diplomats have been working to try to shift the political climate in the name dispute between North Macedonia and Greece in the most extreme direction and against the agreement. Or in Serbia, Russian diplomats were expelled because of suspicions that they might have been involved in an assassination attempt against Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic,” said Péter Kreko.
The right-wing chairman of the National Security Committee will ask the heads of the secret services about the increase in the number of Russian diplomats at the next meeting of the committee, 24.hu reports.
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Source: 24.hu, rtl.hu
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