The agents have been declared “persona non grata” in France, following a lengthy investigation by the Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure (DGSI).
The inquiry uncovered, “a clandestine operation conducted by Russian intelligence services,” on French soil, officials at Quai d’Orsay said.
The expulsions are the end result of a months-long probe, France Televisions reported, which began after a French person came forward to warn intelligence services that a Russian agent was trying to buy sensitive information.
The activities of the six agents under surveillance, “proved to be contrary to our national interests,” which led to their expulsion, officials added.
“In the absence of the Russian ambassador, the second in command was summoned to the Quai d’Orsay … to be informed of this decision,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin praised this operation of the DGSI on his Twitter account.
Remarquable opération de contre-espionnage. Bravo aux agents de la DGSI qui ont entravé un réseau d'agents clandestins russes qui œuvraient contre nos intérêts. Les agents impliqués devront quitter le territoire national. Dans l'ombre, la DGSI veille sur nos intérêts fondamentaux
— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) April 11, 2022
“Remarkable counter-espionage operation,” he wrote. “Bravo to the DGSI agents who have hindered a network of Russian clandestine agents who were working against our interests. The agents involved will have to leave the national territory. In the shadows, the DGSI is watching over our fundamental interests.”
Last Monday France expelled 35 Russian diplomats, whose activities, the government said, were “contrary” to French interests, adding that the sanction was part of “a European approach”.