Intelligence services focused on Russian and Chinese activities in Slovakia

The annual reports of Slovak intelligence services were presented to the parliament.

Russian Federation Embassy in BratislavaRussian Federation Embassy in Bratislava (Source: Sme - Marko Erd)

Tackling disinformation campaigns, extremism, and hybrid threats and protecting cyberspaces have been among the main activities of secret services in Slovakia in 2019.

This stems from the reports of both the Slovak Information Service (SIS) and the Military Intelligence (VS) presented to the parliament on September 25 at a closed session.

“Both reports have confirmed that an active disinformation campaign led by Russia and, most recently, China is underway,” said Tomáš Valášek (Za Ľudí), chair of the parliamentary European affairs committee, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

He appreciated the fact that the campaign has been discussed in public, for example through Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok (SaS nominee).

Juraj Krúpa (OĽaNO), chair of the parliamentary defence and security committee, pointed to activities concerning extremism and corruption that were mentioned in the reports, too.

Russia and China active

Related articleExpulsion of Russian diplomats signals return of Slovakia to EU-NATO trajectory Read more 

The members of Russian intelligence services, who often had diplomatic coverage in Slovakia, tried to infiltrate the central state administration bodies and security forces, and to acquire new collaborators in energy and defence sphere, according to the SIS report.

“They regularly attended the meetings focused on energy and army matters where they tried to contact people with access to sensitive confidential information from the EU and NATO, and people close to the constitutional representatives,” SIS wrote, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

Slovakia is a country of interest for Russia as it serves as a transit country for Russian crude oil and natural gas towards the west, and there are several nuclear power plants of Russian origin, according to Ján Mojžiš, former head of the analytical department of SIS and ex-head of the National Security Office (NBÚ).

“As a result, Russia is trying to keep Slovakia as a partner,” he told SITA.

As for the army, he pointed to the attempts to exchange the weapons with the ones produced in the NATO member states.

Related articleChinese company was collecting data about Slovaks, including diplomats and politicians Read more 

Commenting on China's activities, Mojžiš pointed to the business sphere and possible attempts to cover the country with information technologies to access varied information.

“The activities of intelligence services were recorded mostly in connection with the representatives of a significant Chinese telecom company whose interest in Slovakia focuses on several areas,” SIS report reads, as quoted by SITA. “The creation and development of relations by this telecom company concerned the employees of several ministries.”

Although SIS did not specify the company, media outlets have been reporting on the attempts of the USA to exclude Chinese company Huawei as a supplier of technologies for 5G networks for months due to espionage suspicions, SITA wrote.

Corruption also mentioned

The SIS report focused on corruption practices at the police, prosecutor’s office and judiciary, too. However, it only generally described the cases it was dealing with.

Some MPs who commented on the reform implied that next year, the reports may contain more details and that they should have both confidential and public parts so that other people can learn more about the findings, TASR reported.

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