Russian counterintelligence exposed hundreds of foreign spies in 2018, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.
“[Counterintelligence agencies] conducted successful special operations to cut short the activities of 129 career officers and 465 agents of foreign intelligence service,” Putin said at a board meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB).
At the annual meeting, Putin urged FSB officers to be ever vigilant against foreign operatives who are “doing their utmost to gain access to political, economic, scientific and technological information.”
“We see that, just like in the past... greater efforts are being taken to influence developments in Russia. Therefore, our countermeasures must be effective, constant and based on modern solutions,” he said.
Last year, the Russian president said that 72 career intelligence officers and 397 agents had been caught in 2017.
Putin once ran the FSB himself and his comments played into one of his core narratives which depicts Russia as a fortress besieged by hostile foreign powers.
Reuters contributed reporting to this article.