The Kremlin has stepped up its efforts to recruit Estonian citizens or residents to work in espionage on its behalf, in some cases with the targets not being fully aware of what they were being asked to do, interior minister Kristian Jaani (Center) has told British daily The Times.
Jaani, himself a former police chief, informed The Times that Russian "influence" operations had risen "significantly" in recent weeks, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which started just over a month ago, while information on Estonia's border and its integrity is of particular interest to Russia's secret service agencies, he said.
Some citizens could become involved in espionage without fully realizing it, The Times reports, by, for instance, photographing military or other sensitive infrastructures, or by gathering intel on the U.K.-led NATO battlegroup at Tapa – the British contingent has doubled in size as a result of the invasion.
Escalating tensions by, for example, destabilizing protests, was another potential pitfall, The Times said.
The Internal Security Service (ISS) has also placed public signage at border crossing points, outlining how arrivals might avoid being recruited by the security organs of Russia, and its ally Belarus, Jaani noted, and added that cooperating or collaborating with those organizations was a criminal offense, punishable by law.
At the same time, those who feel they are being fingered for activities running counter to Estonia's security integrity can always approach the ISS or the police, before it is too late.
The original Times piece is here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte