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Joining NATO Makes Finland Target      09/29 06:15


   HELSINKI (AP) -- Finland's future NATO membership will make the Nordic 
country a more interesting target for Russian intelligence and influencing 
operations, and Moscow may seek to acquire NATO-related intelligence through 
its neighbor, the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service said on Thursday.

   In its national security review, the agency known by the abbreviation SUPO 
said that Russia has turned to the cyber environment and other intelligence 
sources, including foreigners living in Russia, as it is facing obstacles with 
its human intelligence operations in the West.

   "The main intelligence gathering approach traditionally applied by the 
Russian intelligence services is human intelligence under diplomatic cover," 
SUPO said. "This has become substantially more difficult since Russia launched 
its war of aggression in Ukraine, as many Russian diplomats have been expelled 
from the West."

   The agency said the Russian security and intelligence services are 
increasingly targeting foreigners who reside in or visit Russia. Russians 
working in the West may also be a target of intelligence gathering when 
visiting their home country, it said.

   The threat of corporate espionage by Russia is also increasing as sanctions 
set by the West on Russia necessitate Moscow's launch of high-technology 
manufacturing to replace imports, the agency said. It added that "this places a 
particular premium on data security in Finnish businesses".

   Finland, a nation of 5.5 million, applied for membership in NATO together 
with Sweden in May. It shares a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) land border with 
Russia, the longest of any European Union member.

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