05:47 GMT23 February 2020
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    The UK's trio of intelligence agencies see Russia as a major security threat, but agree that limited contact with Moscow is needed, a report released by the British parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee reads.

    In an annual 2016-2017 report published Wednesday, the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain's domestic, foreign and digital spy agencies, pointed to Russia as one of the countries that cause them concern.

    The British intelligence community emphasized that Russia’s activities in Eastern Europe, specifically in Ukraine, and in the Middle East were worrying. But there are also areas of mutual intelligence and security interest, they said, notably counter-terrorism and Syria.

    "Whilst collaboration with Russia on matters of mutual intelligence interest would be difficult, we agree with SIS that limited lines of communication should be maintained, although a delicate balance is needed," the report indicates.

    The SIS, in particular, has described the Russian state as "formidable adversaries," a heavily redacted abstract of the report reads. "The events of the past decade or so show that the threat from Russia remains significant. The Agencies’ focus on Russia must be maintained," it concludes.

    Restrictions on liaison with Russia on intelligence matters were introduced after the 2006 death of former Russian FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko. But a channel of communication was reopened with Russia’s Federal Security Bureau in 2013 ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

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    Tags:
    communication, foreign policy, intelligence, threats, security, cooperation, Special Intelligence Service (SIS), British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), MI5, Russia, United Kingdom
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