Russia’s malign operations similar to Baltic Platform “systematic” - Lithuanian MEP

Russia’s malign operations similar to Baltic Platform “systematic” - Lithuanian MEP

The Russians systematically run influence operations similar to the Baltic Platform in various parts of the world, aimed at the infiltration of their assets, forming a certain public opinion, and influencing political decision-making. Such operations must be disclosed and stopped, and a strategy of "zero contact" is necessary in relations with the Russian Federation.

This was stated by Petras Auštrevičius, Member of the European Parliament (Lithuania), a member of the committee on countering foreign interference in the EU affairs, including disinformation, Ukrinform reports citing Guildhall.

"The classic operation ("Baltic Platform" — ed.) on infiltration (of the Russian Federation agencies in Western societies — ed.) and the shaping of public opinion – nothing new. In the Russian Federation, there are many such platforms for each region and different topics. They are very sophisticated in this regard. They have platforms on the issues of the Black Sea, on Scandinavia, on the Balkans, and so on. The latest example of the Baltic Platform only shows that Russians are very active now, taking a proactive position, they shape public opinion, build their own ‘circles of connections,’ and then influence political decisions," said MEP.

"We must expose such operations and squeeze Russia out of any dialogues. We need a ‘zero contact’ policy, as there is no benefit from such contacts with the Russians today," Petras Auštrevičius  concluded.

On April 27, the German publications WDR, NDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung released a complex investigation into Russia's attempt to conduct a malign influence operation, based on Stockholm University and a former high-ranking Swedish diplomat, under the guise of "saving the environment" of the Baltic Sea.

The parliaments of Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania also reacted to the Russian operation.

A member of the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) with the coalition’s Christian Democratic Party, Magnus Jacobsson, said Russia was systematically running special operations against Sweden and NATO, and that the Baltic Platform project is just one of the examples. It is necessary to counter Russia’s multidirectional subversive activity, he noted.

The head of the foreign affairs committee of the Estonian parliament, Marko Mikhelson, stated that the European security agencies should probe persons and organizations that the Russian Federation intended to exploit as part of the influence operation under the guise of the Baltic Platform project.

Read also: Think tank presents report on involvement of retired NATO officers in Russia’s “active measures” abroad

In turn, the vice-speaker of Lithuania’s Seimas, Paulus Saudargas, stated that the Russian intelligence systematically use the environmental agenda as a cover for their influence operations, and that the Baltic Platform is just one of the examples of such malign activities.

As Ukrinform reported earlier, the Baltic Platform project, featured in the investigation of Germany’s WDR, NDR, and Süddeutsche Zeitung, is aimed at achieving the strategic goal of weakening NATO, including in the Baltic region.

The Center for Defense Reforms, citing its own sources, published a list of experts from NATO and EU countries that the Russian Federation planned to use as part of the Baltic Platform operation.

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