Mikk Marran, head of the Estonian foreign intelligence service, in turn, said World Cup fans should beware of Russian women, as they might fall victim to their spectacular beauty and be targeted by Kremlin spies.
In an interview with The Times, he warned fans and footballers against engaging in impromptu conversations in bars, as strangers might turn out to be… undercover agents.
“People are giving out a lot of information when they travel to Russia: names, addresses, social security numbers. That data is installed in systems of the Russian special services,” he told the media outlet.
At the same time, he clarified that not every fan will become a target, but “there will be high-level officials visiting Russia, who might be possible targets.”
“They are going to be looking at who are coming, where they are staying, what they are doing, what are the possibilities, weaknesses. We are trying to raise awareness that this is the risk. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go to Russia. Russia is a great country. But just to make people more aware of what might be happening around them when they are happily having a pint in Moscow or someplace else,” Marran said.
He also added that they might deploy the “honey-trap” techniques to seduce top English players and ardent game fans, echoing Director of the University of Buckingham’s Centre for Security and Intelligence Anthony Glees’ warnings.
“I know England don’t have much hope [at winning the World Cup] but if there’s some way to scupper England’s chances even more, through food poisoning, or honey traps with leading players and gorgeous Russian girls, they will do it. […] I’m not hysterical about this, I accept none of this is a done deal and I know some people are less averse to risk than I am. But I’m saying they could do it, these are the sort of things that could happen,” Glees told the Daily Express last month.
Russia will host the FIFA World Cup from June 14 to July 15 2018. Games will take place in a total of 11 cities, including Moscow, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Saransk, Sochi, St. Petersburg, Volgograd and Yekaterinburg.