NATO chief issues warning to Putin with new plot to oust Russian spies | World | News

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that members of the western defence alliance are looking to crack down on Russian spies in response to acts of sabotage and cyberattacks.

“I expect the NATO ministers to address the Russian campaign of hostile activities against NATO allies,” Stoltenberg told reporters ahead of a two-day meeting of defence ministers at the main headquarters in Brussels.

“We have seen several examples of sabotage, of arson attempts, of cyberattacks, of disinformation,” he said of the increased number of such incidents in NATO countries in the past few months.

Several European countries have arrested and expelled more than hundreds of alleged spies carrying out sabotage activities against military aid for Ukraine and espionage activities on behalf of Moscow since the full-scale invasion in 2022.

Among the targeted countries – all of whom are members of the 32-member NATO alliance – is Poland, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, and Latvia.

Poland, for example, has arrested nine members of an alleged Russian spy ring suspected of carrying out sabotage plots on behalf of Russian intelligence services last month.

In April, Germany arrested two German-Russian nationals suspected of working with a Russian secret service agent to collect information on potential targets, including US military facilities in hopes of sabotaging aid for Ukraine.

This pattern of arrests come in light of heightened tensions between Russia and NATO since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

NATO members and its allies have since supported Ukraine, which is not a NATO member, by providing billions in military and financial assistance to bolster deterrence and defence against Russia.

Stoltenberg said the pattern of such incidents indicated an increased presence of Russian intelligence activites in NATO countries, adding that ministers will discuss the alliance’s options to respond.

The response will focus on stepping up the production of both critical undersea and cyber infrastructure, as well as implementing “tighter restrictions on Russian intelligence personnel across the Alliance.”

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