Sweden arrests 2 suspected spies in dawn raid
STOCKHOLM — Swedish authorities on Tuesday arrested two people suspected of spying during a pre-dawn operation in the Stockholm area.
Authorities gave few details about the case, but Swedish media cited witnesses who described elite police rappelling from two Black Hawk helicopters to arrest a couple who allegedly spied for Russia.
Sweden’s public prosecutor’s office said one of the pair was charged with “illegal and flagrant intelligence activities against Sweden and against a foreign power”. The authority did not identify the other country that would have been spied on.
The Swedish security agency said the operation, which included house searches, was carried out with the help of the Swedish police and armed forces, which provided helicopters. The spy agency said an investigation “has been ongoing for some time”.
The agency did not identify the country the two suspects worked for or give other details. Swedish media reported that the suspects are a man and a woman in their 60s and they are a couple. The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported that they were Russians who arrived in Sweden in the late 1990s.
The Associated Press could not immediately confirm this information.
Fredrik Hultgren Friberg, spokesman for Sweden’s internal security service, known by its acronym SAPO, told tabloid Aftonbladet that “there was a need to arrest the suspects quickly”.
A Swedish Armed Forces spokesman told Aftonbladet they had “supported SAPO with two helicopters”. Swedish broadcaster TV4 said members of an elite police tactical unit abseiled from two Black Hawk helicopters which were flying over the suspects’ home in a residential area of Stockholm.
Tuesday’s developments follow the arrest of two Iranian-born brothers who were charged earlier this month in Sweden with alleged spying for Russia. One of these two men, both naturalized Swedish, worked for the Swedish internal intelligence agency. They have been accused of spying for the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, for about a decade, from 2011 to 2021.
The prosecution stressed that Tuesday’s development was unrelated to the previous case.