MI6 warns Russia of underestimating UK

The head of MI6 will warn Russia not to underestimate the UK’s ability to retaliate in the wake of the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

Alex Younger will use his speech at St Andrew’s University in Scotland to explain how Britain is developing ‘fourth-generation’ espionage for a new and disturbing age, describing how the intelligence service exposed the perpetrators of the Novichok poisoning in Salisbury.

In only his second public speech, Younger will encourage students to consider joining MI6, saying tackling modern adversaries who use new technology to probe UK institutions and defences will require ‘a mindset that mobilises diversity and empowers the young’.

Of equal importance, Younger will re-emphasise the importance of strengthening security ties in Europe, stressing ‘adversaries who regard themselves as being in a state of perpetual confrontation’ with the UK. As such, he will urge Russia ‘or any other state intent on subverting our way of life not to underestimate our determination and our capabilities, or those of our allies’.

Another central theme of Younger’s speech is likely to be the emergence of unconventional hybrid threats’ to UK national security, which could involve techniques such as cyber attacks, the spread of fake news and interference in domestic politics.

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