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Sweden warns of 'certain foreign powers' meddling in the 2018 election

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Sweden warns of 'certain foreign powers' meddling in the 2018 election
File photo of people casting their votes in Sweden. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT
14:48 CET+01:00
Sweden's intelligence service has warned "foreign powers" could try to meddle in the country's upcoming general election, singling out Russia in light of alleged interference in the last US vote.

However, the Swedish Security Service (Säpo), which is responsible for tackling espionage and terrorism, said in its annual report that Sweden's "robust" and "decentralized" electoral system was tough to influence.

"It cannot be ruled out that certain foreign powers will take advantage of the Swedish election campaign to enhance conflicts in Swedish society and attempt to weaken the democratic system," said Säpo head Anders Thornberg in the document, which was written last year and presented on Thursday.

"Russian espionage constitutes the greatest security threat" against non-Nato member Sweden, Säpo warned, adding that a third of Russian diplomats in the country were spies.

"Russia is in Sweden's vicinity and could be linked to a potential military conflict," Johan Olsson, a Säpo chief for countering security threats, said in the report.

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Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told a January security conference that a new agency would be formed to protect citizens from "external influence" for the September 9th general election.

"To those who are considering to try to influence the election outcome in our country: stay away!" Löfven said.

"We won't hesitate to recklessly expose those who will try… Russia has been pointed out in many reports," he added.

In a January 10th report, the US Senate accused Russia of spreading "disinformation" and "propaganda" to interfere in the elections of other countries to undermine Western sanctions against Moscow.

Russia's government on Monday insisted there was no evidence that it meddled in the US elections, after Washington indicted 13 Russians for alleged covert efforts to sway voters.

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