Sources recently uncovered the identity of a mysterious “Russian operative” in Serbia that has been apparently terrifying the US leadership: it is Alpa the rescue dog!
In June, Hoyt Brian Yee, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, criticized the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center located in the city of Nis, accusing it of being "a special center for espionage or other nefarious activities."
To unravel the truth, Sputnik news correspondents followed up on the case to only find out that the mysterious “Russian operative” in Serbia is nothing but a rescue dog named Alpa that has been trained at the center and helps find people under the wreckage.
The dog’s job is to scour disaster sites for survivors trapped under debris and collapsed buildings, and to alert rescue workers to their plight.
The dog spends most of the time with Andrei Dikonov, a Russian rescue specialist working at the center. Dikonov told the sources that he actually worked a lot with dog handlers in Moscow and often played the role of a “victim”, i.e. a person that dogs need to find under the debris, during mock exercises.
Sarcastically commenting on the US fears after the identity of the “Russian operative” was known, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told Sputnik Serbia that “the US official Yee has some rather strange ideas about what constitutes "nefarious activities and espionage.”
"Yes, there are two cats and a few dogs that apparently bark so loud you can hear them in Kosovo. Oh, and there are also four pre-retirement age employees as well. All of this must pose a severe threat to the US state security," Rogozin said.
The center employees told the sources that even though Rogozin was clearly being cynical, “animal rights activists now sometimes call the center to make sure that the rescue workers’ four-legged helpers are properly taken care of.”
"When that roof collapse in a Moscow water park occurred, I saw for the first time how dogs help search for people. Before, I never thought that it was possible. We trust these four-legged fellas, because sometimes even the high-tech gear that we have fails us, but when we send in the dogs, success is guaranteed," Dikonov remarked.