VSD advises which Lithuanians are most likely to be targeted by Russian intelligence agencies

The State Security Department (VSD) has informed DELFI that potential targets are not only employees of Lithuania’s national defence sector. According to spokesman Vytautas Makauskas, Russian efforts are most active in four sectors.

“The strategic sectors include the diplomatic course, national defence decision makers, law enforcement institutions and structures of the Ministry of the Interior,” Makauskas says.

He adds that Russian services approach Lithuanian officials both in Lithuania and abroad.

“The State Security Department has noted an intensification of intelligence activities, carried out most aggressively by Russia’s intelligence and security services. They are conducted in Lithuania, in the border zones and abroad,” according to Makauskas.

The VSD spokesman says that Russia has identified some Lithuanians as targets.

“VSD officials constantly work on prevention and cooperate with state institutions in strategic sectors that are most likely to be targeted by foreign intelligence agencies,” he says.

The Department has previously warned that foreign agencies can approach “any Lithuanian citizen who works for an institution or organization that interests foreign intelligence services, has links to such institutions or knows people who work for them”.

“You or your colleagues can be ‘targets’ if you work with classified or important political, economic, military information. Foreign intelligence agencies are not only interested in people who work with classified information, but also experts in the areas of interest or potential climbers. So even if you are not in an important job today, do not work with classified information, if you’re a student, a young politicians, reporter or scientist, you can still be of interest to foreign intelligence,” the VSD said in a recently-published brochure.

The “foreign intelligence” agencies are not only those of Russia, but also Belarus.

“Russian and Belarusian intelligence agencies use aggressive recruitment methods. Blackmail and other means of psychological pressure are usually employed in recruiting ‘targets’ in foreign territories. People can be forced into cooperation through blackmail over committed offences or immoral acts (smuggling, incidents with local police, drink-driving accidents, buying sex services, etc.). When they act at home, intelligence and security agencies can provoke Lithuanian nationals into such actions or simply frame them. ‘Targets’ can be people who work in or visit Russia or Belarus for business or private purposes, employees of Lithuanian state institutions, politicians, businesspeople, scientists, students,” the State Security Department has warned.

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