Belarusian Nationals Arrested for Vandalizing Cars in Estonia

The Internal Security Service (ISS) in Estonia announced that a group of Belarusian nationals has been apprehended for their involvement in the vandalism of cars belonging to the country’s interior minister and a journalist. The ten individuals were detained as part of a criminal investigation, with the ISS asserting that they acted on behalf of the Russian special services.

According to the ISS, this hybrid operation was intended to instill fear and create tension within Estonian society. While six of the suspects remain in custody, evidence suggests their active participation in carrying out the attacks under the instructions of the Russian special services. Their roles varied, from gathering necessary information for the assaults to actually executing them. Additionally, the suspects were allegedly motivated and encouraged to commit these crimes, which included smashing the car windows of Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets and a journalist, as well as vandalizing memorials.

State Prosecutor Triinu Olev emphasized that this is a preliminary investigation, which will be verified through criminal proceedings. Due to the ongoing proceedings, further information cannot be disclosed at this time. However, Olev stressed the gravity of the offense and the fact that the suspects were prepared to engage in activities against the security of the Republic of Estonia without considering the ramifications.

ISS Director General Margo Palloson sent a clear message to those who pose a threat to Estonia’s national security, assuring that they will be apprehended sooner or later. Palloson highlighted that the Russian special services have been attempting to create tension in Estonia through various means for a number of years. However, these divisive activities lack broad support within Estonian society, and Russia’s goals remain unachieved.

The suspects in this case were recruited through social media, according to Palloson. He urged vigilant citizens to assist the police by reporting any individuals seeking perpetrators for such attacks. The recent arrests were made between December and February in Estonia.

Minister Läänemets acknowledged that Russia has been carrying out activities to instill fear and raise tension in Estonia for quite some time. He classified these actions as part of Russia’s hybrid attacks, which are similar to bomb threats and cyber attacks. Läänemets stressed the importance of society being aware of these aims in order to pragmatically respond to such incidents.

Director General of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Kaupo Rosin, informed the members of Estonia’s Constitutional Committee that similar attacks may occur in other countries as well. Rosin emphasized that while these actions are not limited to Estonia, it is crucial to bring attention to them.

The vandalism of cars belonging to Minister Läänemets and journalist Andrei Šumakov’s car occurred on the same day. The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and domestic security fall under the jurisdiction of the interior minister.

In related news, Latvia’s State Security Service (VDD) recently apprehended an individual suspected of desecrating a memorial site in Latvia on behalf of the Russian special services. Furthermore, attempted provocations at memorial sites in the other Baltic states have also been attributed to the Russian special services.

FAQ:

Q: What is the Internal Security Service (ISS)?
A: The Internal Security Service (ISS) is an Estonian agency responsible for ensuring internal security, counterintelligence, and counterterrorism efforts within the country.

Q: Who has been apprehended by the ISS?
A: A group of Belarusian nationals has been apprehended by the ISS.

Q: What were they apprehended for?
A: They were apprehended for their involvement in the vandalism of cars belonging to the country’s interior minister and a journalist.

Q: Who did the ISS assert they acted on behalf of?
A: The ISS asserted that the group acted on behalf of the Russian special services.

Q: What was the purpose of the vandalism?
A: The ISS stated that the purpose of the vandalism was to instill fear and create tension within Estonian society.

Q: How many suspects remain in custody?
A: Six of the suspects remain in custody.

Q: What were the suspect’s roles in carrying out the attacks?
A: The suspects had various roles, from gathering necessary information for the assaults to actually executing them.

Q: What crimes did the suspects commit?
A: The suspects committed crimes such as smashing the car windows of Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets and a journalist, as well as vandalizing memorials.

Q: Who emphasized that this is a preliminary investigation?
A: State Prosecutor Triinu Olev emphasized that this is a preliminary investigation.

Q: What did ISS Director General Margo Palloson assure?
A: Margo Palloson assured that those who pose a threat to Estonia’s national security will be apprehended sooner or later.

Q: How were the suspects recruited?
A: The suspects were recruited through social media.

Q: What did Minister Läänemets classify these actions as?
A: Minister Läänemets classified these actions as part of Russia’s hybrid attacks.

Q: Who informed the members of Estonia’s Constitutional Committee?
A: Director General of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Kaupo Rosin, informed the members of Estonia’s Constitutional Committee.

Q: What did Rosin emphasize?
A: Rosin emphasized that similar attacks may occur in other countries as well and it is crucial to bring attention to them.

Definitions:

1. Internal Security Service (ISS) – “Vnitřní bezpečnostní služba” (ISS) je estonská agentura odpovědná za zajištění vnitřní bezpečnosti, kontrarozvědky a protiteroristických opatření v zemi.

2. Hybrid operation – “Hybridní operace” se týká kombinace různých prostředků, které zahrnují politické, informační, kybernetické a vojenské prvky, které jsou nasazeny proti cíli.

3. Memorials – “Památníky”

Suggested related links:
ISS official website
Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) official website