Estonia Thwarts Russian Security Services' 'Hybrid Operation'

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.20 - 2024 7:24 PM CET

Photo: Gints Ivuskans /
Photo: Gints Ivuskans /
Estonia Thwarts Russian Security Services' 'Hybrid Operation'.

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On February 20, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas announced the thwarting of a 'hybrid operation' conducted by Russian security services within Estonia's borders. This operation, as reported by the Estonian news outlet ERR, involved the detention of 10 individuals linked to various offenses, notably the vandalism of Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Laanemets's vehicle in late 2023, an act believed to be a deliberate attack.

Margo Palloson, the director of the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS), highlighted that the majority of those detained had prior criminal records.

The ISS posited that these acts were orchestrated at the behest of Russian special services, aiming to instill fear and escalate tensions within Estonian society.

Prime Minister Kallas remarked on the broader scope of such operations, stating, "We know the Kremlin is targeting all of our democratic societies." Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna echoed this sentiment, emphasizing Russia's systematic attempts to destabilize Estonian society through hybrid operations.

He affirmed Estonia's resilience against these tactics and announced plans to summon Russia's leading diplomat in Estonia regarding the incident.

This incident is part of a series of low-level crimes targeting officials and journalists, raising concerns about a broader pattern of aggression that extends beyond Estonia. In a related development on the same day, Latvia's State Security Service (VDD) reported the arrest of an individual with dual Estonian and Russian citizenship.

This person was implicated in the vandalism of a monument honoring Latvian soldiers who fought the Red Army in WWII and is suspected of defacing other monuments across the Baltic states, allegedly under Russian intelligence directives.

The VDD disclosed ongoing collaborative efforts with counterparts in Lithuania and Estonia to probe these incidents, underscoring the regional impact of such hybrid operations.

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