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Russia Allegedly Conducts Sabotage Operations in Europe To Disrupt Military Supplies to Ukraine

According to the New York Times, US intelligence officials suspect Russia of low-level sabotage operations across Europe. These operations, primarily arson or attempted arson, have struck various targets, including a warehouse in England, a Polish paint factory, Latvian homes, and an Ikea store in Lithuania. Officials believe this is a coordinated Russian effort to undermine public support for Ukraine’s war effort.

Beyond the arson attacks, authorities have arrested individuals suspected of being Russian operatives, planning attacks on US military bases in Europe.

Though seemingly random, US and European security officials believe these acts form a unified Russian strategy. Their goal: to slow weapon shipments to Ukraine and create the perception of growing European opposition. Officials believe Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, is conducting this campaign.

Despite the lack of immediate disruption to weapons shipments and the seemingly unrelated nature of many targets, some security officials suspect a deeper motive.

It is suspected that Russia might be trying to compel European countries into tightening security across the entire supply chain. This, in turn, could lead to increased costs and a slowdown in deliveries.

Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a former US intelligence officer and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, suggests Russia’s strategy might be to undermine European commitment to supporting Ukraine. “Russia’s strategy is one of divide and conquer,” according to Kendall-Taylor. While the success of this tactic remains uncertain, she emphasizes the critical need for a unified response from both Europe and the United States to effectively counter these sabotage attempts.

“Right now, it’s not a very costly strategy for Russia because we are all responding separately. That is why it is important that over time, we collectivize the response.”

Warnings from NATO and European leaders of a covert war have been on the rise. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas recently described Russia’s actions as a “shadow war” against Europe.

Additionally, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced the arrest of 9 individuals suspected of carrying out violent acts, including beatings and arson attempts, on behalf of Russian intelligence.

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