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Russian spy chief tells 'meddling West' to go to the devil, forecasts its demise

FILE PHOTO: Sergey Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, delivers a speech during the annual Moscow Conference on International Security in Moscow

By Andrew Osborn

(Reuters) - One of Russia's top spy chiefs on Wednesday said the West had sown the seeds of its own destruction by turning away from what he called its core traditions and told it to "go to the devil" and stop interfering in global affairs.

In remarks at a security forum outside Moscow attended by foreign security officials, Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russia's SVR foreign intelligence service, made some of his most anti-Western comments yet, underlining the depth of enmity Moscow harbours towards the West over its support for Ukraine.

"The Anglo-Saxons might be advised to attend to their own internal civil conflicts. Better still, to clear off to their acquaintance, the devil," said Naryshkin, who like other Russian officials refers to Britain, the United States and other English-speaking countries in the West as "the Anglo-Saxons".

"It is pertinent to remember the biblical truth: the end of them will be according to their deeds. And that means that their end will be a sad one," he said, saying the West was riven by serious internal and external problems.

Russia wants the West to stop arming Ukraine, something Washington, London and European countries continue to do apace ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive to help Kyiv defend itself against what they cast as an unprovoked Russian war of conquest.

Naryshkin, who says that what Russia calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine is designed to protect Moscow from an ever-expanding NATO, accused Washington and London of thwarting efforts to reach a settlement over the conflict and of turning a blind eye to what he said was increasing "terrorism and violence" visited on civilians by Ukraine.

The West says Russia is the one fuelling the war and must withdraw its forces, while Kyiv says millions of its civilians have been forced to take refuge in other countries while those left behind run the often deadly gauntlet of Russian missile strikes.

TURBULENT TIMES

Channelling the Kremlin's preferred view of the geopolitical landscape, Naryshkin accused the West of trying to resist a historical shift towards a multipolar world.

He also accused what he called the "Euro-Atlantic elite" of refusing to voluntarily surrender their leadership while doing everything they could to stop what he called alternative centres of power from rising.

He expressed satisfaction that most countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America had not imposed sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, despite what he called colossal pressure to do so from Washington.

Forecasting turbulent times ahead in global affairs, he said that Russia and other non-Western countries were better placed to weather processes that could decide the fate of nations.

"Turbulent periods (in world history) are essentially a test of the extent to which nations and peoples have preserved their true foundations," said Naryshkin, who like other Russian officials has criticised social changes in the West, such as those around identity, as dangerous and wrong.

"Our countries, unlike the West, have preserved a significant margin of strength and strategic depth in this respect," he said.

"I mean a connection with the spiritual dimension of existence, traditions which in the United States and Europe long ago gave way to positivism, the cult of material success and outright Satanism," said Naryshkin.

(Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Alex Richardson)