Putin "unpredictable": Sweden's secret service raises the alarm about "serious threat"
Created: 01/10/2023 16:36
By: Florian Naumann
The Swedish domestic secret service chief Charlotte von Essen on Tuesday at the "Folk och Försvar" conference.
© IMAGO/Henrik Montgomery/TT
Sweden is still waiting for NATO membership.
Meanwhile, the domestic secret service is warning against Russia – specifically against sabotage, attacks and propaganda.
Stockholm/Munich – Sweden is still waiting for Turkey's green light for its NATO membership.
Sweden's domestic intelligence agency Säkerhetspolisen (Säpo) issued a new assessment on Tuesday (10 January) warning of a "serious threat" from Russia.
Boss Charlotte von Essen expressed public alarm.
Putin "unpredictable" in the Ukraine war: Sweden's domestic secret service sounds the alarm
"The actions of the Russian regime are unpredictable and Russia also poses a serious threat to Sweden's internal security," said von Essen, according to a Säpo statement.
The Kremlin sees Sweden in the Ukraine war as part of Europe and as part of NATO - it is to be expected that "security-endangering measures" will increase.
"We see secret service activities with which one wants to collect sensitive information," said the head of the secret service at a security conference in the town of Sälen.
But that's not all: the secret service has identified three areas as particularly at risk.
Energy supply, telecommunications and "deliveries of critical goods" could be victims of espionage and sabotage.
Possibly with consequences for the rest of Europe.
Putin's influence in Sweden: "Diaspora", companies and institutions
The Säkerhetspolis, in English “security police”, also named several levers of Russian influence: Russian companies, Russian institutions and the “diaspora” – that is, Russians living in Sweden.
Conspiracy theories and "anti-state messages" could undermine trust in the state.
Research had recently revealed a whole network of Russian influence in Germany.
In addition, there is the danger of cyber attacks, according to Stockholm.
An afterthought sounded rather worrying: Russia could also use “violent extremists” to destabilize Swedish society.
Sweden's secret service alarmed: risk of attack due to Russia's influence?
"The development means that both the risk of attacks and the danger to our constitution from extremists are growing," said von Essen.
"This is a development that plays into the hands of foreign powers," she warned.
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Fancy a journey of discovery?
At the end of September, a total of four leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines were discovered after explosions near the Danish Baltic Sea island of Bornholm.
The leaks were in international waters in the Exclusive Economic Zones of Denmark and Sweden.
Säpo and the Swedish public prosecutor determined in November that it was a matter of serious sabotage - but without naming a culprit.
fn with material from dpa