Ft: “Russia prepares violent sabotage in Europe”. Alarm 007: “Infrastructures in the crosshairs, risks for civilians”


By John

Moscow is preparing attacks against European infrastructure, also putting civilian lives at risk. This is the alarm raised today by the Financial Times on the very day in which Russian troops continue to advance on the Ukrainian battlefield. The City newspaper underlines that several European intelligence agencies have alerted their respective governments to the new Russian threats, also on the basis of several ongoing investigations.

According to sources cited by the English newspaper, «Russia has already begun to prepare more actively in secret for bomb attacks and arson attacks to damage infrastructure on European territory, directly and indirectly, apparently without worrying about causing civilian casualties». Although attacks by Kremlin agents in Europe have so far been sporadic, the newspaper said, “evidence of a more aggressive and concerted effort is mounting.”

A belief that transpires from many exponents of European intelligence, from the German to the English, from the French and Swedish services to the Czech and Estonian ones. In particular, the FT mentions the head of the German internal security services, Thomas Haldenwang, who last month – in a conference – stated that the risk of acts of sabotage has “increased significantly”.

Russia, he added, now appears comfortable carrying out operations on European soil “with a high potential for damage.” Haldenwang spoke a few days after the arrest of two Russian-German citizens in Bayreuth, Bavaria, accused of plotting to attack military and logistics sites in Germany on behalf of Russia. A similar case had also happened in the United Kingdom: at the end of April, the article recalls, two men were accused of setting fire to a warehouse containing aid for Ukraine. For the English prosecutor's office, they also acted on a mandate from Moscow.

Same story in Sweden: Stockholm security services are investigating a series of recent train derailments and suspect they are acts of sabotage supported by a hostile state. Russia also attempted to destroy the signaling systems of the Czech railways, the Czech Transport Minister told the FT last month. Furthermore, according to the Estonian internal security service, it was Russian intelligence men who attacked the Interior Minister's cars and those of some journalists in February. The French Defense Ministry also warned this year of possible sabotage actions by Russia against military sites.

“The obvious conclusion is that there has been a real increase in Russian activity,” commented Keir Giles, senior advisor at the Chatham House think tank. A senior European government official also told the newspaper that information about a “clear and convincing Russian action”, coordinated and on a large scale, had been shared through NATO security services. Now, he concluded, the time has come to “increase awareness and attention” on the threat of Russian violence on European soil. Finally, just last Thursday, NATO issued a note stating that the allied countries are “deeply concerned” by Russia's recent “hostile activities”, of a hybrid nature, in the wake of the recent cases that led to the investigation and the indictment of multiple individuals in Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic.