Russia second largest threat to Netherlands: Military intelligence agency

Vladimir Putin
. Vladimir Putin

Russia's efforts to destabilize the Netherlands, Europe and NATO are so serious that military intelligence agency MIVD considers it the second largest security risk to the Netherlands and the Western world in general. Terrorism stands in first place, MIVD General Major Onno Eichelsheim said at the presentation of the agency's annual report on Monday, NU.nl reports.

The service warns that Russia is increasingly using hybrid warfare and improved its military capabilities and greatly increased. The MIVD also called Russia a "large cyber threat that is getting more advanced". Last year Russia committed hundreds of cyber attacks on the Netherlands. The Dutch Ministries of of Defense and Foreign Affairs were important targets, but there were also cyber attacks on companies that produce weapons. According to Eichelsheim, the Russians got no information about weapon systems in these attacks. "But that does not say that it didn't happen at all. Because you don't know what you don't know."

According to Eichelsheim, Russia wants to restore the influence it had in the former Soviet state with a Russian speaking population. "In order to achieve this goal, Moscow will make every effort, including using military means", he said. 

Russia is increasingly using hybrid warfare, such as spreading false information, the MIVD warns. As an example Eichelsheim pointed to fake news spread by the Russians in the aftermath of the MH17 disaster. More recently false reports were spread in Lithuania about a German NATO soldier raping a woman. Eichelsheim also pointed to Russia's efforts to sabotage Western elections. As an example he used the Russian hack of the American Democrats. According to Eichelsheim, there is a "ready chance" that there was also an attempt to influence the Dutch election.

The MIVD also sees that Russia is taking enormous technological steps. The country is able to manufacture and export high-quality military equipment, as can be seen in what the Russians are using in the fight against rebel movements and ISIS in Syria. "In the bast there was a slowdown in the Russian armed forces, but tht image changed after Russia's deployment in Syria", Eichelsheim said. 

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