UK: British spies `uncover plot to murder Russian`

British intelligence agencies are concerned about number of Russians in UK who could be targeted by political killings.

London: Security services have uncovered a
plot to assassinate exiled Chechen separatist Akhmed Zakayev
in London, Britain`s Sunday Telegraph newspaper has reported.

The claim comes after a gunman shot Russian banker German
Gorbuntsov in the British capital on March 20. Gorbuntsov
remains seriously ill in hospital.

British intelligence agencies are increasingly
concerned about the number of Russians in Britain who could be
targeted by political or gangland killings, the Sunday
Telegraph said.

The newspaper claims to have seen court documents
outlining the MI5 security agency`s fears that Ramzan Kadyrov,
the Kremlin-backed head of Russia`s volatile Chechen republic,
wanted former rebel commander Zakayev killed.

"Kadyrov, who had been responsible for the
assassination of a number of his opponents, has a black list
of individuals, some of whom he wished to have assassinated,"
the newspaper quoted a judgment as saying.

"Zakayev, a refugee living in the UK, was believed to
be on this list," it continued.

Zakayev, who fought against Russia in both of its wars
against separatists in Muslim-majority Chechnya since 1994,
told the newspaper he had not been notified of the alleged
plot, but was aware of previous assassination attempts.

"There are more Russian spies in Britain today than
there were during the Cold War," said the prominent exile, who
was granted asylum in Britain in 2003.

The Sunday Telegraph claims Britain`s interior
minister fought a court battle to expel a Britain-based
Russian, named only as "E1", who MI5 believed would organise
the killing, but judges have allowed him to fight to stay.