Finnish government 'suspects Russia of buying property to house soldiers' in case of future invasion, tabloid claims

'A landowner could build real estate that a foreign state could take advantage of in a crisis'

Gabriel Samuels
Wednesday 02 November 2016 11:27
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Tensions between Moscow and Finland have been mounting after a series of "aggressive" attacks in the Russian media
Tensions between Moscow and Finland have been mounting after a series of "aggressive" attacks in the Russian media

Security services believe foreign residents could be buying up large amounts of property in Finland in order to accommodate troops in the event of a potential Russian invasion, a local newspaper has claimed.

A report recently commissioned by the Finnish government revealed intelligence agency Supo had concerns about “property owned by foreigners” in politically-sensitive regions being used in a crisis situation in the future.

“Measures which may be linked to preparations for gaining influence in a crisis situation are being constantly investigated [by Supo],” the report said. “This could be the case with land transactions which do not appear to be business-related or in line with the logical value of real estate.”

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“A landowner could build real estate constructions that a foreign state could take advantage of in a crisis situation - using them to close transport routes and accommodate troops unchecked, for example.”

There is a link between this report and Russia’s previous use of so-called “little green men” - unmarked special forces - occupy property and land in the 2014 annexation of Crimea, the Finnish tabloid Iltalehti claimed.

The report showed Supo had concerns about Moscow acting to assert its authority on the border with Finland through the purchase of property, according to the paper. The Defence Ministry has begun looking into property deals involving land and other real estate thought to be critical to Finnish security.

In October, government ministers in Finland said they were becoming increasingly concerned about a campaign of destabilising propaganda attacks from Russia.

Government communications chief Markku Mantila said Finnish officials had recently observed a barrage of “aggressive” state-sponsored media attacks by Moscow.

Earlier in the month, Finland's defence ministry confirmed it had scrambled planes twice in 24 hours to monitor suspected airspace violations by Russian fighter jets.

In 2014, a former advisor to Vladimir Putin said the Russian president wanted to “reclaim ownership” over Finland as he believed it “belongs to him”.

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