Two Britts have been arrested for helping Russian spies linked to Wagner PMC

Two citizens of The United Kingdom have been charged with helping Russian intelligence services after a suspected arson attack on a Ukraine-linked business in London.

Dylan Earl, 20, from Elmesthorpe in Leicestershire, and Jake Reeves, 22, from Croydon, were investigated following a fire at a warehouse in east London in March.

Mr Earl is accused of planning to target the business, as well as attempting to recruit individuals to materially assist a foreign intelligence service, undertaking fraudulent activity, and arson. Mr Reeves is accused of accepting money knowing that it was from a foreign intelligence service. The prosecution case is that the intelligence service involved was the Wagner private military group led by Yevgeny Prigozhin before he died when his plane exploded last year. The investigation is related to a large fire that broke out on an industrial estate on Staffa Road in Leyton in March, which the prosecution said was started using an accelerant such as petrol.

The charges do not specify who owns the businesses that were targeted, but Companies House records show they are two parcel delivery services: Oddisey and Meest UK. These companies are owned by Ukrainians, who live in London – Mykhaylo Prykhodko and his wife Jelena Boikova.

According to the head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division Nick Price, the suspected Mr.Earl is “alleged to have engaged in conduct targeting businesses which were linked to Ukraine in order to benefit the Russian state”.

An FCDO spokesperson said the UK remains “deeply concerned by allegations of Russian-orchestrated malign activity on UK soil”. “We will continue to work with our allies to deter and defend against the full spectrum of threats that emanate from Russia,” they added.

Mr. Earl and Mr. Reeves are the first people to be charged under a new law designed to update and modernize the offenses of espionage, sabotage, and foreign interference. At the time it was passed, the government said it was designed to strengthen the UK’s defenses against hostile activity by states “targeting the UK’s democracy, economy, and values.”

The United Kingdom is stepping up its efforts to counter attempts to interfere in its affairs by external hostile countries, including Russia. For official London, this is not the first such intervention by Russian special services – earlier, Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium, and there was also an attempt to poison Skripal in Salisbury. The latest arson incident only emphasizes the urgency of countering Russian agents.

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