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More than 30 Soviet spies in London, Russian claims

LONDON -- A Soviet spy speaking publicly for the first time since his defection six years ago said Friday Soviet military intelligence has 30 to 40 spies in London other than those placed by the KGB Soviet intelligence agency.

An ex-major in the Soviet military intelligence or GRU said in a radio interview agency spies most frequently use the Soviet trade mission and the national airlines Aeroflot as a cover.

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The Soviet trade mission 'is the best cover you can imagine ... Aeroflot is GRU -- it is our organization,' he said.

The man who used the pseudonym of Viktor Sovhorov and whose voice was electronically altered was interviewed by British Broadcasting Crop. radio. The BBC said it was his first public interview.

The man who defected six years ago said he faced 'a terrible death' if captured by Soviet agents.

'London is a very big organization,' he said. 'In London at the GRU 'residentura' there are something like 30, 40 people.'

He said these agents were in addition to those placed by the KGB.

A Soviet employee at Aeroflot in London was among five Soviets expelled in April from Britain for spying.

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The man said he was recruited by the GRU from within the military and was sent in the mid to late 1970s to a posting in a western European country under a diplomatic cover.

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