Security Service says once again not to go to Russia, Belarus

The State Security Service (VDD) repeats the warning not to travel to Russia or Belarus ahead of the forthcoming Easter holidays and reiterates the high risks of intelligence activities and recruitment in these territories, VDD said in a statement on March 25.

"In these circumstances, the risks to Latvia's national security have not diminished. The aggressor country Russia and its closest ally Belarus have demonstrated their efforts to deploy various types of hybrid attacks against our country, including to organize harmful activities against various objects in Latvia," noted the VDD.

Russian and Belarusian intelligence activities have become more aggressive. The special services of these countries try to use any means to obtain intelligence about NATO and European Union Member States, including Latvia, said the Service.

Under the current circumstances, the opportunities for Russian and Belarusian Special services personnel to obtain intelligence in the territory of Latvia are limited. Therefore, the special services of the two aggressor countries regularly attempt to recruit Latvians who have entered their territory.

VDD warns that Russian and Belarusian special services personnel on their territory will not hesitate to use threats, blackmail, and other illegal methods to try to force cooperation with them.

THE SWD recalls that the first attempted address often takes place at the border inspection post, with representatives of the special services posing as border guards or using other cover-ups. Representatives of Russian and Belarusian special services can obtain important information for them during a simple conversation, the VDD noted.

Against this background, VDD strongly advises Latvian residents not to travel to Russia and Belarus during the upcoming holidays.

If you need to go to these aggressor countries, the service advises against taking your mobile phone with you, especially if it contains work-related or sensitive information. Data may be retrieved from the mobile phone at the border checkpoint, and it may be infected with spyware, the VDD noted. The service said a more secure option will be a mobile phone with a prepaid card that can be disposed of after a trip. Nor should computer, flash, and other media be taken with.

VDD says to pay attention to signs of contact with a representative of the Russian or Belarusian Special Service at the time of the border crossing:

  • unusually increased scrutiny and questioning;
  • being questioned by a person in civil clothing, not in the form of a border guard;
  • questions that do not apply to the competence of the border Guard, for example regarding the situation in the state of Latvia, attitude towards events in Ukraine, war refugees who entered Latvia, support provided by Latvia to Ukraine;
  • private questions about the workplace, the duties to be performed, the financial situation;
  • accusations of any wrongdoing or crime in an attempt to force “cooperation” in exchange for release from liability;
  • giving you a phone number to call the next time you arrive

In the event of suspicion of contact with a representative of the Russian or Belarusian Special Service, call the service's daily telephone 67208964 or write to [email protected]. VDD guarantees the confidentiality of the information provider.

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