(Bloomberg) -- Russian spy agencies have adopted more aggressive tactics in the Baltic region over the past year, including bomb scares, cyberattacks and election interference, the head of Estonian counterintelligence said. 

Margo Palloson, who leads Estonia’s Internal Security Service, said the pattern is part of a broader drive by the Kremlin to leverage influence in the region on NATO’s eastern frontier. Estonia, once under Soviet domination, shares a 294-kilometer (180-mile) long border with Russia. 

Moscow, which has accused the Baltic nations of discriminating against ethnic Russians, has a diminished official presence in the nation of 1.3 million after scores of diplomats were expelled following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. That’s prompted Russia’s intelligence agencies to turn to social media and those traveling into Russia to recruit agents, the spy chief said. 

“We are on the frontline,” Palloson said in an interview Friday in Tallinn. “This is partly motivated by revenge for supporting Ukraine.”

Estonia and its Baltic neighbors, Latvia and Lithuania, some of the most vocal NATO members in criticizing the Kremlin’s war aims, have been on the receiving end of some of Moscow’s toughest threats. Moscow this year added Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and other high-ranking officials to a criminal database, a move that triggered a travel warning for Baltic officials. 

In the months after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Kremlin conducted military exercises in which it targeted Estonia in simulated missile attacks, according to Estonian officials. Baltic governments have also blamed Russia for “hybrid warfare,” including widespread GPS jamming, vandalizing a cabinet minister’s car and orchestrating an influx of undocumented migrants, something that led Finland to close its border.

‘Sphere of Influence’

Russia’s foreign, domestic and military intelligence agencies have been able to maintain or increase funding for the their activities as the invasion carries on into a third year, Palloson’s agency said in an annual report released on Friday. 

Russia’s goal is also to stoke fear, tie up state resources and “bring Estonia back to its sphere of influence,” Palloson said.

The report also said the Russian Orthodox Church, which has a significant local following among Estonia’s Russian-speaking minority, is a tool of Kremlin influence that’s been used to meddle in Estonian elections and support the war in Ukraine.

Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Laanemets on Thursday said he’ll propose that parliament adopt a declaration labeling the church a terrorist organization after its Moscow-based leadership called the invasion of Ukraine a “holy war.”

Earlier this year, Estonian security services arrested around a dozen individuals suspected of working for Russian intelligence. Around half of them were recruited via Telegram, Palloson said. 

The suspects, most of them young men, some with criminal records, were paid small sums of money to vandalize the minister’s car and national monuments as part of a wider plan — a low-cost way to gain influence abroad, Palloson said.

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