bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Ceturtdiena 05.12.2019 | Name days: Sabīne, Sarma, Klaudijs
LithuaniaLithuania

Lithuanian intelligence adds China along with Russia to list of national security threats

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

A Russian soldier launches a drone during the joint Russian, Belarusian and Serbian military exercise “The Slavic Brotherhood” at the military ground Kovin, near Belgrade

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

Lithuania’s intelligence has released this week the annual National Threat Assessment 2019 report, with core threats coming from the hostility of Russia in a vast spectrum of aspects.

The core threats to national security stem again from the hostility of Lithuania’s closest neighbour, Russia, but, China, as a country with interests detrimental to Lithuania’s security, has been added on the list of national threats for the first time.

«Simply speaking, there is nothing much new in this year’s intelligence report on national threats, besides the fact that China is mentioned. However, China is nothing new in terms of threats to those who work in the intelligence community,» Gediminas Grina, former director of Lithuania’s State Security Department, told BNN.

He however hastened to add that the State Security Department (VSD) and the Second Investigation Department under the Defence Ministry, the compilers of the report, has said «little» of what is «perhaps known» to the intelligence bodies.

«Released information cannot alert our nemeses on what Lithuanian intelligence knows about them. It is meant to impel our lawmakers to raise their awareness of what is happening in the country and to act accordingly,» Grina, now a security analyst, emphasised.

Among the conclusions the intelligence agencies made is the firm inference that Russia has failed to gain desired political influence in Lithuania, but will however try to intervene in the country’s domestic affairs in the foreseen future.

VSD brought attention to the fact that Russia ramped up efforts aimed at recruiting Lithuanians abroad.

Moscow often targets men who served in the Soviet Armed Forces and people who have relatives in Russia and Belarus, they said. Specifically, Russia’s intelligence agencies search for individuals ideologically close to Russia and recruit Lithuanian and foreign citizens travelling to Russia and Belarus, according to the report.

The agencies also pointed out that Russia seeks to influence political processes in Lithuania, but there are currently no solid indications that Russia has achieved the desired influence.

VSD claims it has not yet recorded any clear signs of Russian intelligence services trying to influence upcoming elections in Lithuania, but adds that this is possible.

The agency however predicts that Russian intelligence is «very likely» to ratchet up hostile activity ahead of the 2019–2020 election cycle in Lithuania.

Lithuania will elect municipal councils in March and its next president and members of the European Parliament in May.

Russia may also stage provocations against Lithuanian officials related to a mass trial of people charged with involvement in the January 1991 bloody crackdown on protesters in Vilnius, the agencies said.

According to the rapporteurs, Moscow strived to fulminate ethnic enmity and animosity in Lithuania, disparage Lithuanian statehood and evoke nostalgia for the Soviet era.

Lithuanian intelligence report also emphasises that Russia is consistently building up its military capabilities in its Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, but the presence of NATO forces reduces the likelihood of Moscow venturing to attack the Baltic countries.

According to the report, Russia’s military strategy regards Belarus as a «buffer» state. «Russia attributes Belarus to its zone of influence and uses its territory for military operation planning and demonstration of force,» it says, adding that Belarus’ gradually deepening military integration and economic dependence on Russia limits its ability to pursue an independent defence and security policy.

Lithuanian secret service believes that Russia uses drones for surveillance of Lithuania.

«It’s a new tendency. These are not unmanned vehicles of similar type, flying in a conflict zone. It is Russian intelligence activity carried out during peacetime in a sovereign state, in the territory of a NATO country,» Colonel Remigijus Baltrėnas, head of the Second Investigation Department under the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence (military intelligence), told journalists at the Lithuanian parliament on Tuesday.

A photo of the Russian drone was shown during the Tuesday presentation of the annual report on threats to national security, prepared by Lithuania’s State Security Department and the Second Investigation Department.

The intelligence reports says «the same type of aircraft conducted intelligence collection flights over the territories of Syria, Libya and Eastern Ukraine, where Russia supported the ongoing combat actions. The components of the found UAV were made in several countries. However, it contained Russian software and corresponded to known UAV analogues used by the Russian intelligence and security services.»

Some of risks are high-tech and fin-tech related, specifically having to do with Russian investments in Lithuania.

VSD said in its report that Lithuania has recently blocked an investment by a Russian holding company in a local firm that could be used to collect cartographic data for the Russian Armed Forces.

Sistema, a holding company controlled by Russian oligarch Vladimir Yevtushenkov, bought a Lithuanian aero-scanning and mapping firm through an investment company owned by his son, the State Security Department and the Second Investigation Department pointed out.

At the same time, Sistema controlled Kronstadt, a Russian company that several years ago won a contract for setting up digital cartographic data centres.

According to the report, Russia seeks to collect more cartographic data to enable an efficient use of new missile launching systems.

The increasingly widening geography of potential investors in the financial sector ranges from Cayman Islands to Vanuatu, VSD pointed out in National Threat Assessment 2019.

According to the agency, seeking to conceal the actual beneficiaries and reduce the tax burden, these actors employ sophisticated and shady business management schemes that are implemented through legal entities based in preferential tax zones.

For the first time, Intelligence warned of China’s increasingly aggressive spying in Lithuania.

«As Chinese economic and political ambitions grow in Lithuania and other NATO and EU countries, activities of the Chinese intelligence and security services become increasingly aggressive,» the State Security Department and the Second Investigation Department underscored.

According to the annual report, two Chinese intelligence services operate in Lithuania: the Ministry of State Security and the Military Intelligence Directorate.

«Primarily, China’s domestic policy issues drive Chinese intelligence activities in Lithuania. For example, it seeks that Lithuania would not support independence of Tibet and Taiwan and would not address these issues at the international level,» the bodies said.

Chinese intelligence also has broader interests in Lithuania, including its domestic and foreign policies, its economy and defence sector, and information accessible to Lithuanian citizens about foreign countries’ international cooperation projects with China and future plans, they said.

To the observation that Klaipėda authorities seek to build an outer seaport with a heavy investment from an unidentified yet Chinese company, Grina, former VSD chief, agreed that negative assessments of China’s aggressive expansion should be considered but they do not stipulate immediate necessity to act on them.

«It is exclusively up to politicians, those in Klaipėda too, as to how to react to the intelligence findings. Politicians have to find «middle way» in dealing with this kind information from VSD. If we say “no” to all Chinese investments, we will see one extreme and if we embrace all of them, there will be another extreme,» Grina said.

Lithuanian intelligence agencies also warned of potential security risks due to Chinese telecoms giant Huawei’s links to China’s intelligence bodies. The Lithuanian government says however it currently has no reasons to restrict the use of Huawei equipment for civilian purposes.

Interviewed by Lithuanian national broadcaster, Vytautas Bakas, a member of the parliamentary Committee of National Security and Defence, advised not to «demonize» China as a country and consider that Lithuania has just recently started intense economic relations with the Eastern giant.

«I’d perhaps single out two aspects of the issue. We indeed need to heed what is going on (in relation to China) in our partner countries, especially in the United States. On the other hand, we need to learn how to properly treat Chinese investments. Anyway, the findings will impel us all to think what kind of investments we want, what are the limits of granting someone right to invest here and et cetera,» Bakas said.


Leave a reply

  1. Mike says:

    Funny…a tiny nation unknown to 95 pc of the world seems to be most fearful on planet Earth.

  2. Ibby says:

    China, you’re not assertive, you’re aggressive. Be it Huawei, Belt Road or Made in China 2025, you’ve made it clear you want to dominate. Fair enough, but small nations have the right to speak out against you.

VID officials will need to have spotless reputation, Saeima decides

From now on, officials of the State Revenue Service (VID) will need to have a spotless reputation. This is decided by Saeima’s amendments to the Law on State Revenue Service approved in the final reading on 5 December, as BNN was told by Saeima’s press-service.

Brazil at risk of losing vote in UN General Assembly because of high debts

There are risks that because of failure to pay its debts to the United Nations Organization, Brazil could lose its voting rights in the UN General Assembly, Reuters reports.

Strained Lithuanian budget is desperate for additional sources of revenues

With the adoption of the new year’s budget skidding, two major professional groups – teachers and doctors – have had this week their demand for higher salaries satisfied, thus deepening the holes in the shallowing budget. Where to scoop up money to patch all the gaps and satisfy all the demands? This week, Seimas, Lithuanian legislature, was in a frantic search for additional sources of revenues.

Estonian Police and Border Guard Board official detained on suspicion of embezzlement

Estonian Internal Security Service has detained a senior officer of Police and Border Guard Board at the South Prefecture on suspicion of document forgery and embezzlement of more than EUR 250 000, as reported by Estonian public media ERR.

Saeima supports government’s decision to extend state of emergency in Riga

On Thursday, 5 December, Saeima agreed with the government’s decision to extend the state of emergency with waste management in Riga’s administrative territory until 12 March 2020, as reported by the Saeima’s press-service.

Flu infection rates remain low in Latvia, but infection spread continues nonetheless

A total of 30 clinically confirmed flu infection cases were registered in Latvia’s healthcare institutions. Nevertheless, virus activity remains low in the country, according to the latest monitoring report on influenza and acute upper respiratory tract infections compiled by Disease Prevention and Control Centre.

France braces for intense protests over Macron’s intended pension reform

France shaken by this decade’s biggest protests in which trade unions urge other residents to oppose French President Emmanuel Macron’s intended pension reform, Reuters reports.

Marguerite Fund to sell Conexus shares to Japanese Marubeni fund

Shareholder in Latvian natural gas transmission and storage system operator Conexus Baltic Grid, Marguerite Fund plans to sell its owned 29.06% of Conexus shares to Japanese company Marubeni fund.

Saeima’s majority may move towards Riga City Council’s dismissal

The majority of Latvia’s Saeima may vote towards dismissing Riga City Council, according to unofficial information from LETA. There is also a more reserved position on this, but generally it is admitted that Riga City Council’s dismissal process will be initiated.

National Economy Committee invites reviewing Rail Baltica project’s management structure

«Considering the unstable situation and lasting stagnation with the project’s management, the National Economy Committee invites Transport Ministry to review the structure of RB Rail,» says Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee chairman Jānis Vitenbergs.

«Riga’s residents overpay.» Kleins proposes terminating contract with Rīgas karte

Riga City Council vice-chairman and shareholder in municipal company LLC Rīgas satiksme Druvis Kleins, has ordered the company’s lawyers to assess the option of quickly terminating the contract with LLC Rīgas karte, as confirmed by Kleins, who represents For Riga! bloc in the city council.

Newspaper: Russia plans to deploy a motorized division in Kaliningrad next year

Russia has plans to deploy a motorized division in Kaliningrad Oblast, which shares borders with Poland and Lithuania, as reported by Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Ex-president says conflicts with territorial reform surface where the rich refuse to share

The objective of the territorial reform remains unchanged – forming economically more efficient administrative territories. This means creating counties able to sustain themselves and develop economically. Conflicts with the reform usually surface in areas, where the rich refuse to share. There are also situations when the poor want to receive and do nothing on their own, BNN was told by ex-President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers.

October’s industrial production output in Latvia increases 3%

Compared to October 2018, industrial production output increased by 3 % in October 2019, according to calendar adjusted data at constant prices.

Iceland’s prime minister urges making welfare a budget priority

Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir urges the government to focus on priorities that serve the interest of families and nature, not focus exclusively on economic growth, BBC reports.

NATO leaders meet in spite of tension to discuss security challenges

In spite of ongoing rows, leaders of NATO member states met near London on Wednesday, 4 December, to discuss important topics like cyber security and strategic challenges created by China, BBC reports.

Latvian government extends state of emergency with waste management in Riga

Although Riga City Council has stated multiple times that it is not necessary to extend the state of emergency with waste management, Latvia’s government has nevertheless decided to extend it until March 2020.

SEB Bank clients now able to use mobile devices to pay for goods and services

SEB Bank clients who have a mobile phone with Android OS are now able to pay for goods and services using their phones. It is possible to use mobile phones to for transactions up to EUR 150 in Latvia and abroad using contact-free terminals, the bank reports.

Kleins: we may have to review who receives public transport discounts in Riga

Considering the complicated financial situation at Rīgas satiksme public transport company, it may be necessary to review which groups of people receive discounts and benefits, said Riga City Council’s vice-chairman Druvis Kleins in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Wednesday, 4 December.

Latvian pupils’ mathematics score above average among OECD member states

Latvian pupils’ mathematics skills are reportedly higher than average among member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to results of OECD PISA 2018.

Environment Ministry to decide on Riga City Council’s dismissal this week

Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry’s lawyers will prepare a report this week on whether or not it is necessary to initiate dismissal of Riga City Council, as journalists were told by Environment Protection Minister Juris Pūce on Tuesday, 3 December.

Turkey upholds veto against NATO Baltic defence plans; Lithuania hopes for compromise

Ankara has reiterated its stance of blocking the adoption of updated Baltic defence plans in NATO as a bargaining chip in its attempts to label Kurdish groups in Syria as terrorists, according to the Turkish policy.

In spite of suspicions of fraud in VID, government promotes Kaspars Podiņš to general

Although multiple objections have been voiced in regards to Kaspars Podiņš’s work as chief of State Revenue Service’s Tax and Customs Office, Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers has nevertheless decided to promote him to general.

Estonian pupils – best among European nations in PISA education test

Estonian pupils’ skills have topped the list of European nations in the latest ranking of average education results of the survey of Programme for International Student Assessment carried out by the OECD in 79 countries and economies.

Latvia’s ruling coalition officially agrees on Kazāks as chosen Bank of Latvia governor

Parties of the ruling coalition in Latvia have agreed to pick the central bank’s council member Mārtiņš Kazāks as their chosen candidate for the posting of governor of the Bank of Latvia, politicians told journalists on Tuesday, 3 December after a meeting of ruling parties.


Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!