Mexico’s government welcomes 36 new ‘Putin spies’ in face of European exile

Putin appears to limp in April amidst speculation over his health

The Mexican government is curbing an international trend by welcoming Russian delegates with open arms.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who says he remains neutral in the face of war, has authorised the accreditation of 36 new Russian diplomats to the country.

According to the international news site Infobae, Russian President Vladimir Putin turned to his ally AMLO after seeing hundreds of diplomats expelled across Europe.

Countries across the continent have kicked out more than 400 Kremlin employees who were stationed at embassies in the likes of Germany, Poland and the Netherlands.

But AMLO’s concession to Putin means a total of 85 Russian diplomats are now on Mexican soil.

The sudden 60 per cent increase in the official staff of the Russian Embassy in Mexico “can only reflect Putin’s desire to expand his manoeuvres in the Americas,” Infobae says.

John Feeley, former US ambassador and security specialist, assured the Mexican media that “the number of Russian diplomats in Mexico would not make any sense if what they were doing were traditional embassy duties” and, on the contrary, he stressed: “Spies almost always have diplomatic cover.”

Russia took advantage of López Obrador and set up an operational headquarters of the GRU – its top secret intelligence agency – on Washington’s doorstep and ready to violate the principles of the Vienna Convention.

Some analysts have watched the move with scepticism as concerns over the Russian operations in Mexico grow.

Some fear that Russian spies will now be able to hold meetings with their undercover agents in the United States on a more regular basis and thus increase the effectiveness of their clandestine operations.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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