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NYT: Russia conducts sabotage operations across Europe to undermine support for Ukraine

Russian military intelligence, the G.R.U., is behind arson attacks in Europe aimed at undermining support for Ukraine’s war effort, security officials say.
Flag of the European Union, illustrative image. Photo via
Flag of the European Union, illustrative image. Photo via
NYT: Russia conducts sabotage operations across Europe to undermine support for Ukraine

US and allied intelligence officials are tracking an increase in low-level sabotage operations in Europe that they say are part of a Russian campaign to undermine support for Ukraine’s war effort.

The covert operations have mostly been arsons or attempted arsons targeting a wide range of sites, including a warehouse in England, a paint factory in Poland, homes in Latvia and, most oddly, an Ikea store in Lithuania.

As reported by the New York Times.

While the acts might appear random, American and European security officials say they are part of a concerted effort by Russia to slow arms transfers to Kyiv and create the appearance of growing European opposition to support for Ukraine. And the officials say Russia’s military intelligence arm, the G.R.U., is leading the campaign.

In addition, people accused of being Russian operatives have also been arrested on charges of plotting attacks on US military bases in Europe. As happened earlier this year in Germany, when two German-Russian nationals were arrested on suspicion of plotting sabotage attacks.

Officials called it ”a serious effort to undermine military support for Ukraine.”

The attacks, at least so far, have not interrupted the weapons flow to Ukraine, and indeed many of the targets are not directly related to the war. But some security officials say Russia is trying to sow fear and force European nations to add security throughout the weapons supply chain, adding costs and slowing the pace of transfers.

Russia conducting ”shadow war” against the Europe
NATO and European leaders have been warning of the growing threat. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas of Estonia said last week that Russia was conducting a ”shadow war” against Europe. Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland announced the arrest of 12 people accused of carrying out ”beatings, arson and attempted arson” for Russian intelligence.
And Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store of Norway said Russia posed ”a real and serious threat,” after his country warned about possible attacks targeting energy producers and arms factories
Amid the growing concern about sabotage, NATO ambassadors are set to meet next month with Avril D. Haines, the US director of national intelligence.
Ms. Haines will provide an intelligence briefing on Russia’s war in Ukraine, but she will also discuss Moscow’s covert sabotage campaign in Europe.
Security officials would not describe their intelligence linking the sabotage to the G.R.U., but American and British spy services have penetrated the G.R.U. deeply. Before the war in Ukraine, the United States and Britain released declassified pieces of intelligence exposing various G.R.U. plans to create a false pretext for Russia’s invasion.
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