Russian spy Anna Chapman has taken her kit off for this month’s Russian Maxim in a Bond girl-esque shoot involving a gun and some lacy pants. In a perhaps lesser honour, the 28-year-old has also been presented with a state medal for espionage.

Chapman has been in the limelight since she was sent back to Russia along with nine other agents accused of spying in the US.

Since returning home, the red-haired spy has been headline news, capturing people’s imaginations for her daring espionage work in the West, but also for being undeniably hot.

Whereas the other agents kept a low profile, Chapman has courted publicity and her shoot for Maxim is likely to make her even more, erm, popular.

Alongside her men’s mag honour, Chapman today received a top state medal from Kremlin president Dmitry Medvedev for her espionage work in the West.  She is one of the youngest people ever to receive such an award.

Russian spy Anna Chapman on the cover of Maxim

A statement from the Kremlin was the first official admission from Moscow that Chapman was definitely an employee of Russian foreign intelligence when she was thrown out of America.

“A ceremony took place in the Kremlin today to hand top state honours to a number of Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) employees, including the spies who were working in the United States and returned to Russia in July,” said Kremlin spokeswoman Natalya Timakova.

Earlier this year, 10 spies who had been working undercover in the United States returned to Russia in return for four Russians who secretly spied for MI6 and the CIA being allowed to go free in the West.

Anna Chapman was instantly the most newsworthy of the spies but there were doubts over whether she was really involved in fully fledged espionage.

However today’s award from the Kremlin confirms that she was in fact a key figure in the espionage ring.

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Frankie Mullin