19:48 Apr. 11, 2016
Boris Reitschuster says Kremlin paramilitary groups are ready to attack at any moment
Russian President Vladimir Putin has formed secret battle-ready special force groups across Europe, including Germany. This is what a German journalist and an expert on Russia Boris Reitschuster claims in his new book 'Putin's Hidden War'.
German daily newspaper Bild published book's fragments ahead of its publication on Friday this week (April 15).
Reitschuster says that this underground army is trained in the Russian 'Systema' martial arts schools, where the students undergo training in knife fighting, hand-to-hand combat and weapon handling.
According to Reitschuster, the commanders of this secret army are drawn from Russia's military intelligence and elite airborne troops, adding that 'this fighting force is a backbone in Putin's hidden war against the West.'
The author claims that just in a previous year European intelligence services have identified about 300 men in Germany who are actively involved in the ‘Systema' structures. Among those who have received special training are soldiers, policemen, judicial employees and even members of the German security services.
These paramilitaries hold regular drills in the Swiss Alps and the Czech Republic, operate freely across European borders and are often sent to Moscow to improve their skills.
The Kremlin recruits, who can be activated at a moment's notice, also receive training in sabotage and handling explosives, Reitschuster says.
According to Bild, ‘Systema' trainees are active in the ranks of the far-right groups, including right-wing movement Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (Pegida), and conduct targeted disinformation campaigns among German citizens.