Russia used energy to inflitrate, influence, spy in Europe – former Dutch diplomat

According to former Dutch ambassador Kees Klompenhouwer in an interview that was released on Friday, the Dutch government disregarded the fact that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was a Russian infiltration project.

Photo by Pavlo Podufalov

Between 2002 and 2006, Klompenhouwer oversaw foreign intelligence for the AIVD, the Dutch secret service. From 2013 until 2017, he also served as the Dutch ambassador to Ukraine.

In the interview with NRC that was made public on Friday, Klompenhouwer stated that “[Nord Stream 2] was a Russian infiltration project.” It “perfectly fits into Putin’s modus operandi,” he continued.

“The Russians lure their partners with short-term benefits, their dependence on Russia grows, they are tied to Russia – and then they are drained,” he continued.

The story discussed how the Russian government spied on the staff of Dutch energy business Gasunie, which bought a 9% stake in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The report also highlights a lack of coordination among Dutch authorities: despite repeated warnings from the AIVD about Russian espionage activities in the nation and the potential danger of having an excessive reliance on Russia for energy, the Dutch government chose to disregard these concerns.

“We reasoned that we had to act quickly. The EU also takes you more seriously if you are important in the energy sector,” according to former Dutch foreign minister Bernard Bot.

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