It has been speculated that a Russian vessel seen in Belgian territorial waters in November was an intelligence-gathering ship from Russia, similar to one also seen in Dutch territorial waters, trying to travel unnoticed.
According to Vincent Van Quickenborne, minister for the North Sea, the ship’s automatic identification system (AIS) is thought to have been turned off when it is believed to have sailed across Belgian and Dutch seas in November.
The Belgian minister stated that the Russian ship was “undoubtedly” connected to the larger context of the crisis in Ukraine. It was suspected that the Russian ship was mapping key infrastructure.
The new marine security law went into effect on January 1st and included provisions for video monitoring at sea, which should make it simpler to identify vessels.
A probe into the incident was started in February, although Russia disputes any connection between the ship and intelligence operations.
“In their research, the media in these nations erred. They prefer to hurl irrational charges against Russia, according to Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, Le Monde reported.
The establishment of a task force on resilience and safeguarding vital infrastructure by NATO and the EU was announced in January by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
Stoltenberg stated during the press conference that “Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has fundamentally changed our security” during the announcement.
As seen by President Putin’s use of energy as a weapon and the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, he stressed the importance of resilience and the preservation of essential infrastructure. “We want to examine together how to increase the resilience of our critical supply chains, technology, and infrastructure to potential threats and to take steps to mitigate potential vulnerabilities.”
The task force, which was established on March 16 at a meeting of senior NATO and EU officials, will focus on four areas: energy, digital infrastructure, transportation, and space, according to a news release from the EU Commission.
In addition, in May 2018, Denmark hosted the inaugural North Sea Summit in Esbjerg, which included Ursula von der Leyen, the Commission President, and the leaders of Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
The leaders of Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Ireland, Norway, and the UK are anticipated to attend the summit’s second iteration, which is slated to take place in Ostend, Belgium.
The security of the energy grid, offshore wind farms, and the cables that link them is one of the goals Belgium has set for this meeting.