STOCKHOLM ( Associated Press) – The Swedish internal security agency, SAPO, predicts Russia will increase activities threatening Swedish security in areas such as telecommunications and the power grid.
SAPO director Charlotte von Essen said on Tuesday that Russia’s actions were “unexpected” but stressed that “we can expect that Russian activities may aggravate Sweden’s security.”
Von Essen said “areas in which there is reason to be particularly vigilant” in combating espionage and sabotage are telecommunications, power supplies and the transport of “critical materials”.
“On the Russian side, there is an interest in disturbing these areas,” von Essen said. “These are areas where an attack on Sweden could also damage the rest of Europe.”
The officials were speaking at the end of a three-day conference on safety in Salen, a ski resort in central Sweden. The annual event was attended by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Christerson and Swedish foreign policy and security experts.
Von Essen said SAPO expects Russia to “use informal platforms such as the Russian diaspora, institutions and companies in Sweden to a greater extent than ever before.”
He also warned that SAPO is “seeing an increase in the spread of conspiracy theories and messages against the state, which in the long term risk undermining trust in society’s institutions, politicians’ decision-making and the legitimacy of the government.” Situation”.
“Both the threat of assassination and the threat to our constitution can erupt into widespread extremism. It is about an evolution that plays in favor of a foreign power,” von Essen said.
He declined to say whether Russian activity has increased since Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. By that time both Nordic countries had a long history of military non-alignment.