In 2018, as part of his strategy to exterminate turncoats and defectors, Vladimir Putin sought to kill Aleksandr Poteyev, a high-ranking Russian intelligence officer turned American spy, in Miami.
As a result of Poteyev’s defection, 11 Russian spies and one Russian honeypot, Anna Chapman, were apprehended by the United States while operating secretly in cities across the country. According to reports, the botched murder attempt resulted in several penalties and expulsions from both Washington and Moscow.
The spy network in the United States that Poteyev managed for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service formed the basis for the popular FX series The Americans. The Russian spies lived as married couples in the United States while using false identities. With the ultimate objective of enlisting Americans as Russian spies, the plan was to have them blend in via suburban houses and day jobs.
Anna Chapman, who cheated on her British husband with an influential and affluent New York businessman, was arrested thanks to the information provided by Poteyev. She and eleven others were eventually apprehended, prosecuted, and jailed in the United States. Ultimately, she and the others were exchanged for four Russians who had reportedly spied for MI6 and the CIA while in jail there.
U.S. intelligence officials were worried that Russian President Vladimir Putin, known to loathe traitors, might take action against defectors residing in the United States after the Skripal incident.
In 2010, Poteyev departed Russia and went to the United States, where the C.I.A. helped him find new housing and start a new life. A Russian court handed out a lengthy term against Poteyev in his absence 2011. It was widely assumed that Putin had arranged for Russian news outlets to claim that Poteyev had died in the United States in July 2016.
Russia launched a complex effort in 2018 to locate Poteyev with the support of a scientist from Oaxaca, Mexico, named Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes.
A Russian official contacted Fuentes and requested a meeting in Moscow. The official mentioned that Fuentes’s loved ones were stranded in Russia and said, “Perhaps we can help each other.” Fuentes was told to get a Miami rental, but not in his name. The position of Poteyev’s automobile was to be noted, and he was subsequently described as the vehicle.
After Fuentes’ arrest, he informed American authorities of the scheme’s specifics. The United States government expelled 10 Russian diplomats, including the SVR station commander, and levied penalties on Russia. In retaliation, Russia expelled ten U.S. diplomats, including the CIA’s Moscow station head.