Russian attack fears on Birmingham to see UK deploy high-tech drones and special forces

Ukrainian 'kamikaze' drone destroys Russian tank

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The news comes as British intelligence agencies believe Russian agents may try to carry out an assassination, nerve agent attack or cyber-attack to disrupt the games. The alleged move by Russia could reportedly come as revenge for Britain arming Ukraine to defend themselves against the so-called “special operation” conducted by Moscow.

The high-tech drones will be the first time such equipment will be used, with the UAVs designed to intercept and destroy similar enemy air vehicles.

Alongside the drones, special forces troops will be deployed and remain on standby in a move echoing security arrangements during the London Olympics in 2012.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced up to 1,000 armed forces personnel, including bomb disposal experts, will be posted during the event taking place over the summer.

A statement by the MoD read: “Defence will provide a range of assistance to support the delivery of the Commonwealth Games.

“This includes the provision of ceremonial assets, advisory teams, explosive ordnance disposal capabilities and counter-unmanned aerial systems.”

“In addition, the team has worked constructively with West Midlands Police and will be readying several hundred service personnel to support venue security.”

Up to 30 special forces soldiers, including snipers, will also be deployed across locations hosting various sporting events.

Adding to the safety and security of the games, armed undercover specialists from the Reconnaissance Regiment will also be brought in to mingle with crowds both within the venues, as well as the entourage.

To maintain the security over the skies of Birmingham during the games, specially trained military operators will be equipped with what are called counter unmanned air vehicle systems, such as attack drones, ¬lasers and weapons which can disrupt GPS on hostile drones, left, and ¬radio signals.

It is understood that the Special Forces have already conducted a number of exercises in Birmingham.

Speaking of the role specialist forces will be taking, one source told The Star: “The SAS are leaving nothing to chance and there is a risk that Russia may try and disrupt the Games.

“That includes everything from a cyber-attack to an assassination or the use of a nerve agent.

“The Commonwealth Games are a high-profile event and could easily be exploited by the Kremlin.

“All of the attacks we are preparing for have already been carried out by the Russians, either in the UK or in other western countries.

“It is easy to see how President Putin would want to punish the UK for supplying weapons to Ukraine.”

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According to one source speaking to The Mirror, Russia has up to 50 spies operating in Britain.

The source said: “The Commonwealth Games is a high profile event with a global audience and could easily be exploited by the Kremlin.

“It is easy to see how Putin would want to punish the UK for supplying weapons to Ukraine.”

Lt Col Philip Ingram, an ex-military intelligence officer and NATO planner, said: “The Commonwealth Games gives a potential opportunity for Russia to try and disrupt what is happening due to the UK’s support for Ukraine.

“A potential threat is the use of drones either by Russia, terrorists or misguided members of the public.

“The Russians have a history, using the covert elements of the Russian military intelligence, of doing this but it is distinctly possible that they could utilise cyber and disinformation attacks to try and disrupt the games.

“Lockdown through the pandemic has resulted in very little visible terror activity but that doesn’t mean it went away.

“Terror groups have continued to recruit, groom, encourage and resource potential attackers and the publicly accessible locations at the Games provide a perfect target opportunity.”

For more stories like this, follow Defence and Security Correspondent James Lee on Twitter @JamesLee_DE

The current security threat in the UK is rated as substantial, meaning an attack is likely.

About 5,000 athletes from up to 72 nations are expected to compete at venues all over Birmingham and the West Midlands in the Games, which run from July 28 to August 8.

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