June 15, 2024

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Europe: Secret services suspect Russian sabotage behind fire

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Ukraine warMysterious Fires in Europe – Are These Russian Sabotages?

After several fires and other acts of vandalism in various European countries, the secret services suspect Russian masterminds.

Simon Misteli
Van
  • In early May, secret services warned of increased Russian sabotage in Europe.

  • European governments have confirmed these warnings in a number of mysterious fires and symbolic acts.

  • Investigations into whether Russia was actually involved are still ongoing. Social media makes it possible to recruit domestic subversives, making it difficult to draw conclusions about Russian influence.

In early May, various European intelligence services warned of Russian plans to carry out “continental acts of violent sabotage”.

Now many European governments are seeing this warning confirmed. Mysterious fires in the Baltic states, Germany and Great Britain, and anti-Semitic signs in Paris have all been attributed to Russian vandals.

Several suspicious arson attacks

Investigators have already found possible Russian involvement in an arson attack in east London, an inferno that destroyed a major shopping center in Poland, a sabotage attempt in Bavaria and anti-Semitic graffiti in Paris. Recently, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk suspected that a fire at an IKEA store in Lithuania may have been caused by a foreign vandal.

While there is no evidence that all of these incidents on the continent were coordinated by Russia, security services believe they may be part of a systematic effort by Moscow to destabilize the West and thereby support Ukraine.

Social media makes vandalism easy

Unlike during the Cold War, when we had to set up networks of spies and agents overseas to carry out such activities, things are much simpler today. In the age of social media, vandals with few connections to other attackers can be hired and paid a few hundred euros or in cryptocurrency for their illegal activities, the Guardian writes.

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French investigators are looking into whether graffiti of red hands on a Paris Holocaust memorial last week was commissioned by Russian security services. Three Bulgarians were filmed during the crime and are suspected of having left France the same night. Something similar happened in Paris in the fall when Stars of David were sprayed on house walls. At that time, the police arrested two Moldovans, which investigators suspected of being behind a Russian order.

The goal is to reduce the population

Joseph Fitzhanakis, a professor of intelligence and national security studies at Coastal Carolina University, believes the sabotage is aimed at “creating political pressure on governments to stop the war.” He calls these “mass psychological goals.”

Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a former US intelligence official, also said Russia’s plan could weaken European resolve. Russia will proceed as carefully as possible. “They want to bring the war to Europe, but they don’t want a war with NATO. So they’re doing things less than conventional attacks.”

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