Sunday Life

Hunger vigil spy backs spooks

By Chris Anderson
30 January 2005

An ex-KGB double agent - who is staging a hunger strike opposite 10 Downing Street - is backing a campaign by disgruntled former Ulster spies.

Viktor Makarov, 50, whose has gone without food for 46 days, is demanding defector status, the right to work, and a pension for his services spying for Britain.

The Russian says his case is similar to that of a group of ex-Army spies, in Northern Ireland - including the double-agent 'Kevin Fulton' - who claim they have been abandoned by the military.

"Like me, they risked their lives for the British," said Mr Makarov.

"Now, instead of receiving our promised financial packages and new identities, we have all been thrown to the wolves by the Intelligence Services.

"I am totally behind the soldiers who worked undercover in Northern Ireland," he added.

Makarov huddles each night in a small tent on the pavement opposite Tony Blair's London home.

He sips nothing but tea, which he heats in a small kettle on a camping stove.

The ex-KGB officer spent five years in an old Soviet labour camp between 1987 and 1992, after being convicted of being a traitor.

He had worked in the KGB's 16th Directorate, decoding intercepted diplomatic cables from NATO, before becoming disillusioned and agreeing to spy for the British.

He moved to England following his release, but claims the British reneged on promises to give him an MI6 pension and defector status.

Four years ago, he was given a one-off payment of £65,000 and a house in Bournemouth, where he lives on state benefits.

But Makarov says he needs a better standard of living and specialist medical treatment.

"Russia will never forgive me, and I will not give in until the British authorities honour their promises to me', he said.

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