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Putin's Proxies: 10 Alleged Russian Spies on Mission to Instill 'Fear and Create Tension' Detained

Estonia Detains Saboteurs Operating on Orders from Russia
Source: MEGA

The Security Service of Estonia apprehended 10 alleged saboteurs believed to be working under instructions from Russia.

Feb. 23 2024, Published 11:02 a.m. ET

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Estonia's domestic security agency has detained 10 individuals suspected of engaging in sabotage activities allegedly orchestrated by Russia.

These suspects, believed to be part of a "hybrid operation" led by Russian special services, were apprehended between December and February.

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The Internal Security Service of Estonia has disclosed that among the detained individuals are suspects implicated in incidents such as vandalizing the car windows of Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets and a local journalist in December 2023.

Authorities claim these alleged saboteurs were involved in various roles within the covert operation, ranging from intelligence gathering to planning and executing attacks, following instructions from their Russian handlers.

State Prosecutor Triinu Olev, according to the Associated Press, has mentioned that the detained individuals are awaiting further legal actions pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.

Margo Palloson, the head of Estonia's security service, has revealed that some suspects were recruited via social media by Russia and were also linked to vandalism of unspecified memorials in Estonia.

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In a statement reported by the Associated Press, the Estonian Internal Security Service stated that the alleged Russian special service-led operation aimed to instill “fear and create tension in Estonian society.”

However, due to ongoing procedural investigations, detailed information regarding these incidents cannot be disclosed at this time.

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Estonia, having gained independence from Russia in 1991, remains vigilant against external interference, particularly from Moscow, given its NATO and European Union membership.

Despite Russia's persistent efforts to gather foreign intelligence, recent reports suggest a decline in the effectiveness of their espionage networks, with increased counter-espionage measures, notably in Europe.

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The decline in Russian espionage effectiveness is attributed to factors such as the exposure of their activities, notably the 2018 assassination attempt on former Russian military officer Sergei Skripal, and heightened global scrutiny.

Sources familiar with Russian espionage operations have described them as increasingly ineffectual and easily disrupted.

Concerns about Estonia's vulnerability amid the conflict in Ukraine have prompted preparations for defense measures along its borders.

Reports indicate that defense ministers of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are collaborating to build bunkers as a precautionary measure against potential threats.

Susan Lilleväli, an undersecretary for defense readiness at the Estonian Defense Ministry, emphasized the importance of learning from the Ukrainian conflict's lessons, stressing the difficulty and costliness of reclaiming territories once they are seized.


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