Finland Says Russia’s Spying Operations Weakened in Nordic Country. PHOTO/Reuters
HELSINKI – Expulsion of intelligence officers Russia and visa denial has substantially weakened Moscow’s intelligence operations in neighboring countries Finland on one last year. This was announced by the Finnish Security and Intelligence Agency, Thursday (30/3/2023).
The intelligence agency, known by its acronym SUPO, said in a statement that Russian intelligence had been “blackmailed” in the Nordic country because of the agency’s ability to compromise spy operations by 2022.
“The Russian intelligence station (in Finland) shrank to about half of its previous size last year,” said SUPO Director Antti Pelttari, as quoted by AP.
He added that the main reason for the decline was the expulsion of spy suspects and denial of visas on the advice of his agency.
“The reduction in the number of intelligence officers and restrictions on travel across the Russian-Finnish border amid the Moscow war in Ukraine have significantly damaged the conditions for Russian spy operations in Finland,” he continued.
It noted that operations under diplomatic cover had traditionally been the main instrument of Russian intelligence abroad, and that Moscow was seeking to use, among other methods, cyberespionge to cover up human intelligence deficiencies.
“While Russia still seeks to place its intelligence officers under diplomatic cover, it must find ways to compensate for its lack of human intelligence, such as by adopting other forms of covert operations abroad,” Pelttari said.
The agency said Russia, China and “certain other countries” were the most active users of intelligence operations to obtain information for their own purposes and against Finnish interests.
Finland, a nation of 5.5 million people, applied for joint NATO membership with neighboring Sweden in May. It shares a 1,340-kilometre (832 mi) land border with Russia, the longest of any member of the European Union.
SUPO has previously said that Finland’s future NATO membership would make the Nordic country a more attractive target for Russian intelligence and influencing operations, and that Moscow might seek to obtain NATO-related intelligence through its neighbour.
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