Baltic Rim Monitor Articles
Yuri Stilve, who has been convicted of spying for Russia, was detained by the Latvian counterintelligence service almost year ago. In August 2018, he was sentenced to three years on probation for collaborating with foreign services. It was only recently that more details of his spying activity had been revealed by the Re:Baltica group of journalists.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that a meeting between Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Lithuanian ex-president and MEP, Rolandas Paksas, had taken place in the Kremlin. Interestingly, no details were given, contrary to the talks between the Lithuanian politician and the chairmen of Russia’s both parliamentary chambers.
Lithuanian authorities confirmed that recently several people suspected of espionage for Russia were detained. The number of detainees is not known. But it is known that a well-known Lithuanian politician is among them. It is also known that a Russian citizen was detained, but quickly released. The detainment of Algirdas Paleckis is important.
The construction of the so-called “House of Moscow” in Vilnius has been planned for almost 14 years. The first press reports about building such an institution in the business district of Vilnius appeared in 2004. Under the most recent decision of the city authorities, supported by the opinion of the State Security Department of Lithuania (VSD), the construction process, which has been going on for years, is to be stopped.
The Finnish company Sisu is to conclude a €200 million contract for the supply of armoured vehicles to the Latvian Armed Forces. The offered vehicle model met all the necessary requirements and proved to be better adapted to Latvia’s natural conditions than the variants offered by the USA, South Africa and Turkey. It is highly probable that the contract will be valid for the next 10 years.
In 2019, the British authorities will strengthen their contingent in Estonia and carry out military exercises in this Baltic country with the participation of all types of armed forces. London claims that Russia is the main military threat not only to NATO’s eastern flank, but also to the United Kingdom itself.
At the beginning of December, President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė paid a state visit to Kiev. The highlight of the visit was a meeting with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, the aim of which was to sign a number of agreements between the two states. As a result, Lithuania and Ukraine have strengthened their cooperation in the fields of politics, the military and economy.
Denmark and Finland suspended the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia. What is the reason? The vicious war in Yemen where Saudi Arabians are heading the intervention of the alliance of the Arabic states. The decision of the government in Copenhagen was induced by the death of the journalist at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were one of the first countries to react on the Russian activities in the Sea of Azov. Three Baltic states have been politically and morally supporting Ukraine in its struggle with the Russian aggression since 2014.
The Minister of the National Defence Mariusz Blaszczak visited Lithuania last weekend. Except for the participation in the ceremonies and visits to the Polish memorials, Minister Blaszczak took part in the talks between the ministers of defence of the Baltic states and signed a declaration about the Polish accession to the „Cyber Rapid Response Teams” programme, which is a Lithuanian initiative within the PESCO.
The Swedish international cooperation agency (SIDO) since 2002 has financed the SCOOP workshops for the Russian journalists from Russia. The workshops include training in investigative journalism. Organisers have suspected for many years that the Russian secret services have been interested in the programme.
Yandex, a Russian IT baron, extends its influences to another EU market. Three Baltic states in which the Yandex.Taxi app was launched in the summer were joined by the fourth EU country. On November 9, first Yandex cars entered the streets of Helsinki. On the Finnish market, Russians operate under the name of “Yango”.
The Minister of the Defence Jussi Niinistö unfavourably commented on the concept of creating a joint European army. In the interview for the Finnish STT news agency, he criticised the establishment of the joint European army promoted by France and Germany. Presumably, the project is not coherent with the Finnish security policy.
Although the left-wing Saskaņa party won the October elections to the Latvian Parliament, it still remains in opposition in the new political arrangement. President Raimonds Vējonis entrusted the leader of the conservatives with the task of forming a new government.