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NATO to confront Russian 'sabotage' attempts — Stoltenberg

June 13, 2024

The military alliance has reported an increasing number of "hostile activities against NATO allies." All of which is designed to undermine support for Ukraine, according to NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
Stoltenberg said NATO's support of Ukraine is unwavering, despite Russia's best effortsImage: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu/picture alliance / Anadolu

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday the alliance was looking into ways of countering Russian attempts to "sabotage" the alliance.

The NATO secretary general said defense ministers meeting in Brussels would discuss plans to counter a "Russian campaign of hostile activities against NATO allies," adding that ministers would work on "response options."

The alliance is keen to bolster closer intelligence sharing, increase protection of critical infrastructure, and deploy "tighter restrictions on Russian intelligence personnel across the alliance."

Increase in cyber attacks and disinformation

Speaking ahead of a two-day meeting of defense ministers in Brussels, Stoltenberg told reporters that NATO had witnessed "examples of Russian sabotage, arson, cyber attacks and disinformation," with the number of incidents on the rise.

Poland, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic have all reported incidents of infiltration in recent weeks, citing Russian interference.

"We see it in Latvia, but also all around NATO countries we see those potential incidents," Latvian Defense Minister Andris Sprids said in Brussels. "We deal with an aggressor country which has undermined the international rules-based order. Its activities don't come as a surprise."

"Latvia, of course, is in the front line and we have been facing hybrid attacks for some time, cyber-attacks, the weaponization of illegal migration," he added.

Russia is stoking tensions around Baltic Sea, expert says

NATO links disruption to war in Ukraine

At the end of May, security services in Poland detained a man suspected of trying to acquire images of military vehicles crossing the border into Ukraine. Polish security services also accused three men of committing arson on the orders of Russian intelligence.

In May, German newspaper the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that construction workers in Germany had found explosives while working near a NATO pipeline. Though the culprit remained unclear, German intelligence services have long indicated that Russia is open to such sabotage. 

NATO officials have suggested Russia uses disruption to pressure the alliance into halting weapons supplies to Ukraine. But Stoltenberg promised earlier this week that  "Russia's actions will not stop us from supporting Ukraine."

Stoltenberg: 'Self-defense is not escalation'

jsi/ab (Reuters, AFP)