Russia, China Are Running Hybrid Wars With West, Czech Spies Say

(Bloomberg) -- Russia and China are engaging in hybrid conflicts against NATO and the European Union to undermine their unity, the Czech spy agency said in a report.

Both Russia and China are employing similar tactics, increasingly using not only spies with diplomatic cover but also businessmen or career diplomats to gather intelligence, the Czech secret service said in the report published Monday. It added that China has increased its focus on efforts to obtain scientific and technical know how.

“China has almost unlimited capital at its disposal, which it is able to offer to foreign companies in exchange for access to intellectual property or entry into foreign markets,” the spy agency said in its report. “Chinese interests focused especially on strategic economic sectors, such as energy, telecommunications, finance, logistics, healthcare and high-tech.”

Both a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the EU, the Czech Republic is among post-communist nations in central Europe where some politicians advocate warmer ties with Russia despite the Kremlin’s worsening relations with western capitals. The country’s president, Milos Zeman, is a vocal supporter of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and an enthusiastic promoter of closer economic cooperation with China.

The Russian strategy includes various military and civil tools, such as espionage, propaganda, a Soviet-style interpretation of modern history, disinformation, economic influence, cultural activities, organized crime and corruption, the Czech intelligence service said in the report on its counter-intelligence activities in 2017.

The report also underscored the worsening relations between Russia and the West, which hit a post-Cold War low following the poisoning of a former Russian double-agent and his daughter in March. The Kremlin is also facing accusations of organizing cyber attacks against western governments and institutions as well as allegations of running cyber warfare to sway elections.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.