Christopher Steele: Russian leaders believe they are ‘at war’ with UK, says former British spy

The Independent
The Independent

Top members of Russia ’s government see themselves as being “at war” with the UK, according to the former British spy who compiled the dossier on Donald Trump ahead of his election as US president.

Christopher Steele claimed “serious people” in Moscow regarded themselves as engaged in hostilities with Britain.

In a wide-ranging interview with Sky News, the ex-MI6 agent also claimed his wife had lost her job at the Foreign Office because of the fallout over his Trump research, and described his abrupt own rise to fame as “nauseating”.

Speaking about what he said was the threat to Britain from Russia, Mr Steele said: “They’re zero-sum thinkers. They think that if anything benefits us, it’s at their expense. If anything benefits them, it’s at our expense.

“There are serious people at the top of Russia who regard themselves [as] at war with us. “And the fact that our politicians neither want to recognise or deal with that is a big problem.”

The US, UK and European Union are all under threat from Kremlin manoeuvering, Mr Steele claimed.

Another major topic of the interview was the dossier the former spy compiled on Mr Trump and potential links with Moscow ahead of the 2016 US presidential election. Mr Steele stood by the document, saying he still believes it is mostly accurate.

The dossier made headlines after the election due to lurid claims of “kompromat” that Russian spies were supposed to have held on Mr Trump.

Mr Steele said he found the attention he received after he was outed as the dossier’s author “nauseating” and “just insane”. He said it also caused problems for his wife, whose career at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) fizzled out after the news broke.

“I'm sure they didn't like the fact that she was married to me, but I think it was more this fear that Trump and his acolytes would come after us and would claim all sorts of things that weren't true,” Mr Steele said.

His wife took early retirement and never received a credible explanation for the evaporation of her career prospects, her husband claimed.

The Independent has contacted the FCDO for comment.

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