Five people accused of being part of a Russian spy ring operating in the UK have appeared in court, APA reports citing BBC.
Bulgarian nationals Orlin Roussev, Bizer Dzhambazov, Katrin Ivanova, Ivan Stoyanov, and Vanya Gaberova allegedly conspired to gather information which would be useful.
It is alleged they carried out surveillance on people and places targeted by Russia between August 2020 and February 2023.
The suspects were remanded in custody.
Their surveillance activities are alleged to have apparently been for the purpose of assisting Russia.
They did not enter pleas at Westminster Magistrates' Court, where they appeared via video link from four different prisons.
All five defendants remained silent other than speaking to confirm their names and dates of birth.
Met Police counter-terrorism officers arrested them in February under the Official Secrets Act. They are:
- Orlin Roussev, 45, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
- Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, of Harrow, north-west London
- Katrin Ivanova, 31, of the same Harrow address
- Ivan Stoyanov, 31, from Greenford, west London
- Vanya Gaberova, 29, from Churchway, north-west London
Describing the charges, prosecutor Kathryn Selby said the "operating hub in this country for the offence of espionage" was the property of Mr Roussev.
His home address was a now-closed seaside guesthouse in Great Yarmouth.
Mr Roussev is alleged to have organised and managed the cell's spying operations from the UK. It is alleged that such operations took place in the UK and Europe.
The five defendants are accused of being part of a conspiracy with a "person known as" Jan Marsalek. He is not charged in the case.
It is claimed Mr Roussev received tasking from abroad by a person known as Jan Marsalek.