The head of the U.K.s spy agency challenged Russia on its “malign behavior” and its stance of “perpetual confrontation” in a speech Monday.
“Our intention is for the Russian state to conclude that, whatever the benefits it thinks it is accruing from this activity, they are not worth the risk,” M16 chief Alex Younger said to students at St Andrews University, according to Reuters.
“I should emphasize that even as the Russian state seeks to destabilize us, we do not seek to destabilize Russia. We do not seek escalation,” Younger said.
Younger, also known by the codename “C,” said that MI6 will continue to work with partner agencies in Europe to strengthen “indispensable security ties” after Brexit.
“C” stressed the need for “fourth-generation espionage” that utilizes tech innovations such as artificial intelligence to respond to emerging hybrid threats, telling students that Britains adversaries are taking advantage of the blurred lines between the cyber and physical worlds, but that the U.K. is well-equipped to counter these threats.
The rare address, Youngers second public speech in the four years since he was appointed, is a pitch to recruit a new generation of spies.
Read this next: Michelle Obama to skip Europe book tour stops for Bush funeral