Finland raises alarm: 'Various threats from Russia'

Written by Henrik Rothen

Oct.19 - 2023 9:57 AM CET

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto with Putin in 2015. Photo: Wikipedia Commons
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto with Putin in 2015. Photo: Wikipedia Commons
Finland raises alarm.

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Finland's intelligence agency, Supo, has sounded the alarm over escalating cyber espionage activities from Russia since the invasion of Ukraine.

The agency's senior analyst, Suvi Alvari, confirmed to The Guardian that these attempts have surged notably since Finland's efforts to join NATO were ratified in April.

The Finnish government has been vigilant about Russia's actions within its borders, especially since the conflict in Ukraine began.

In a move to counteract Russian espionage, Finland expelled nine Russian diplomats in June, citing violations of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Suvi Alvari pointed out that while Finland and Russia maintained "functional relations" up until February 2022, the situation has since worsened. She mentioned that Russia aims to tarnish Finland's reputation among its own citizens, leading to an increase in negative reports about the country.

The heightened alert from Finland's intelligence comes on the heels of recent sabotage suspicions involving the country's maritime infrastructure. Just last week, damage was reported to a submarine telecommunications cable and a gas pipeline near Finnish and Estonian waters.

While the Finnish authorities have not yet identified the culprits, President Sauli Niinistö's office stated that "external actions" are likely to blame.

Suvi Alvari further warned that Russia's current influence operations are primarily designed to act as a deterrent, with the energy sector being a key target.

Sauli Pahlman, the deputy director general of the Finnish National Cybersecurity Center, reassured that there is no immediate threat of a direct, open attack on Finnish society that would disrupt essential services like food, electricity, or water. Nonetheless, monitoring efforts continue to be rigorous to mitigate any potential risks.

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