The head of MI6 has appealed to Russians disaffected by the Ukraine war to defect and work with his organisation.
In a speech in Prague, Sir Richard Moore said many Russians were “silently appalled” to see their armed forces “pulverising” Ukrainian cities.
“They are watching in horror as their soldiers ravage a kindred country.”
He said the door was always open to any Russians who wanted to join MI6 to work together to end the bloodshed.
“We will handle their offers of help with the discretion and professionalism for which my service is famed. Their secrets will always be safe with us,” he added.
His appeal was made during his only public appearance this year at the British Embassy in Prague, 55 years after the crushing of the Prague Spring by Russian tanks.
Sir Richard said many Russians were wrestling with the “same dilemmas and the same tugs of conscience” as their predecessors did in 1968 when Soviet tanks crushed the Prague Spring uprisings.
“They know in their hearts that Putin’s case for attacking a fellow Slavic nation is fraudulent, a miasma of lies and fantasy.
“I invite them to do what others have already done this past 18 months and join hands with us,” he said.