Vladimir Putin tried to kill turncoat Kremlin officer in Miami

Vladimir Putin tried to assassinate Kremlin intelligence officer who became a CIA informant in Miami: Failed plot on operative who helped snare 11 spies sparked sanctions and tensions between U.S. and Moscow

  • Putin tried to have Russian defector Aleksandr Poteyev killed in Miami
  • It was part of his effort to eliminate turncoats
  • Poteyev’s information to US led to arrest of 11 Russian spies, including the red-haired honey pot Anna Chapman 

Vladimir Putin tried to assassinate a Kremlin intelligence officer turned American spy in a move that led to a series of retaliations between U.S. and Russian spy agencies, a new report revealed on Monday.

Putin tried – and failed – to eliminate Aleksandr Poteyev, who had been a high-ranking Russian intelligence official more than a decade earlier, in Miami in 2018.

It was a part of Putin’s greater plan to eliminate turncoats and defectors. Poteyev’s betrayal was particularly grating as it led to the United States arresting 11 spies living undercover in cities across America, including the red-haired Russian honeypot Anna Chapman. 

Putin’s assassignation attempt failed but it led to both Washington and Moscow to a series of sanctions and expulsions, the New York Times reported.

Aleksandr Poteyev, circled in red, in an undated photo from his time in Kabul

Poteyev was part of Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, and he oversaw a spy network in the US that was playing the long game. It would eventually inspire the hit FX series ‘The Americans.’

The Russian agents lived in the US under fake identities, posing as married couples.  The plan was for them to blend in via suburban homes and day jobs with the eventual goal of recruiting Americans as Russian agents.

One of those was Anna Chapman, who was posing as the CEO of a realty firm and cheating on her British husband  with a well-connected and wealthy New York businessman.

Based on Poteyev’s information, Chapman and 11 others were arrested, tried and sentenced to American jails. Eventually she and the others were swapped for four men imprisoned in Russia who had allegedly spied for MI6 and the CIA. Chapman parlayed her fame into becoming a national hero in the Kremlin.

Meanwhile, as part of that exchange, one of the prisoners Russia released was was Sergei V. Skripal, a former colonel in Russia’s military intelligence service who was convicted in 2006 for selling secrets to British intelligence. 

Skripal moved to the UK where he was poisoned at the hands of Russian operatives in Salisbury, Britain, in 2018.

Aleksandr Poteyev’s information led the US to arrest 11 Russian sleeper agents, including Anna Chapman (above)

Vladimir Putin is know to hate traitors

Sergei V. Skripal, a former colonel in Russia’s military intelligence service who was a British spy, was poisoned in the UK

Putin is known to hate traitors. The attack on Skripal caused concern among US intelligence agencies that the Russian president would make moves on defectors living in the U.S. 

Furious at Poteyev’s betrayal and arrest of his agents, Putin targeted him, as outlined in the forthcoming book ‘Spies: The Epic Intelligence War Between East and West,’ by Carlder Walton and published on June 29.

Poteyev, meanwhile, had fled Russia. 

As FBI agents closed in on Chapman and the other embedded Russians in 2010, Poteyev escaped to the United States, where the C.I.A. resettled him in an effort to protect him.

In 2011, a Russian court sentenced Poteyev in absentia to decades in prison.

Then, in July 2016, Russian news agencies reported Poteyev died in the United States – but this was believed to be a Putin ploy to flush him out. 

Meanwhile Poteyev was living in Florida, where he obtained a fishing license and registered as a Republican so he could vote, all under his real name.

In 2018, Russia took up an elaborate operation to find Poteyev, forcing Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, a scientist from Oaxaca, Mexico, to help.

Fuentes studied microbiology in Kazan, Russia, and later earned a doctorate in the subject from the University of Giessen in Germany, per the Times.

He had two wives: a Russian living in Germany and another in Mexico. Putin would use them as leverage against Fuentes.

In 2019, the Russian wife and her two daughters were not allowed to leave Russia as they tried to return to Germany.

Russia forced Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, a scientist from Oaxaca, Mexico, to help them find Poteyev

When Fuentes went to visit them, a Russian official contacted him and asked to see him in Moscow. The official reminded Fuentes that his family was stuck in Russia and that perhaps ‘we can help each other.’ 

Fuentes was instructed to rent an apartment in Miami, just north of Miami Beach, where Poteyev lived, but not in his name.  He was later given a description of Poteyev’s car and was told to find it and note its location. He was told not to take photos of it. 

Driving into Poteyev’s complex, Fuentes tried to bypass security by following another car inside, getting him stopped by security. As he spoke to the officials, his wife photographed Poteyev’s license plate.

The incident was caught on camera. When Fuentes tried to fly to Mexico two later, he was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, who searched his phone and found the photo.

After he was arrested, Fuentes talked, giving details of the plan to American officials.

The American government responded by imposing sanctions and expelling 10 Russian diplomats, including the chief of station for the SVR, Russia’s spy agency. 

In return Russia banished 10 American diplomats, including the CIA’s chief of station in Moscow.

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