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MI5 spy boss warns Russia is seeking to split Europe

THE head of MI5 says it is more vital than ever that European spy agencies stand together to counter the threat Russia poses to Western democracies.

In an attack on Vladimir Putin’s regime, Andrew Parker (pictured) accused Moscow of telling ‘bare-faced lies’ and using ‘criminal thuggery’ in the attempted killing of a former Kremlin spy in Salisbury in March.

Russia has repeatedly denied it was involved in the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

But in a speech to European spy bosses in Berlin, Mr Parker claimed the Kremlin was taking part in ‘deliberate, targeted, malign activity intended to undermine our free, open and democratic societies’.

He also accused Russia of ‘flagrant breaches’ of international rules, and criticised its invasion of Crimea and alleged interference in Western elections. He said Moscow was the chief protagonist among ‘hostile actors’, adding its actions risked making it a ‘more isolated pariah’.

He said: ‘Bare-faced lying seems to be the default mode, coupled with ridicule of critics. The aim is to sow doubt by flat denials of the truth, to dilute truth with falsehood, divert attention to fake stories and do all they can to divide alliances.’

Mr Parker also warned the threat from Daesh would continue after revealing 12 terror plots had been thwarted since March last year.

After his speech, Russia accused Britain of ‘rallying new participants into its anti-Russian campaign’.