15:14 GMT20 February 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Head Sergey Naryshkin took the unprecedented step on Tuesday to declassify the names of seven agents who were working without any legal cover, revealing recipients of the highest state honorary titles of Russia and the Soviet Union among them.

    "These are Hero of the Russian Federation Yury Anatolievich Shevchenko, Hero of the Soviet Union Yevgeny Ivanovich Kim, Hero of the Soviet Union Mikhail Anatolyevich Vasenkov, Hero of the Russian Federation Vitaly Viacheslavovich Netyksa and his spouse Tamara Ivanovna Netyksa, Vladimir Iosifovich Lokhov and Vitaly Alekseyevich Nuykin," Naryshkin said during a press conference in the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.

    This is the first time Russia's intelligence services are disclosing simultaneously several names of its agents who operate abroad without the legal cover of state agencies such as embassies and consulates. The Foreign Intelligence Service is expected to share their biographies shortly.

    In December, Naryshkin said that the Foreign Intelligence Service was going to disclose the names of seven of its "special reserve staff" to mark the centenary of its existence.

    Declassifying the identities of such agents is extremely rare as the majority of them remain undercover their entire lives.

    agents, intelligence, Russia
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