Russian Sabotage in the North Sea

Russian military and civilian “ghost ships” are moving in the Baltic and North Seas and collecting data for sabotage against wind farms, gas pipelines and communication cables.

This is evidenced by a joint investigation by public broadcasters in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

The activities of Russian intelligence were uncovered when the Scandinavian broadcasters DK, NRK, SVT and Yle investigated information on radio traffic and the location of Russian ships around their countries.

A large number of Russian military and civilian ships in the waters around Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden are studying the seabed with special equipment and finding out how the infrastructure of these countries is connected.

According to experts, Russia’s goal is to obtain information that would allow it to sabotage, among other things, the distribution of electricity in Northwest Europe or carry out sabotage, including by cutting power and data cables across the Atlantic and to the rest of Europe.

According to the investigation, Russian “ghost ships” are sailing in the waters of Northern Europe. These are vessels that have switched off their so-called AIS transmitters and do not report their location.

An example is the Russian Navy ship Admiral Vladimirskiy. Officially, it is engaged in maritime research, but according to sources, it is also used for reconnaissance work.

In particular, the ship travelled in the vicinity of seven wind farms off the coast of Britain and the Netherlands during one mission. The ship slowed down as it approached the areas where the wind farms were located.

When the journalists approached the ship in a small boat, they were confronted by a man wearing a balaclava and holding a weapon that looked like a military assault rifle.

The same ship was spotted off the coast of Scotland last year entering the Moray Firth on 10 November, about 30 nautical miles east of Lossiemouth, where the Royal Air Force’s fleet of maritime patrol aircraft is based.

A Danish counter-intelligence officer told reporters that Russia is preparing sabotage plans in case of a full conflict with the West. The head of the Norwegian intelligence service told investigators that this military programme is very important for Russia and is controlled directly by Moscow.

As a reminder, on 16 March, NATO and the EU held their first meeting to establish a new Task Force on Critical Infrastructure Resilience amid the Russian threat.

Earlier, the European Commission proposed to update the EU Maritime Security Strategy, which provides for joint naval exercises and patrols to protect critical maritime infrastructure at sea.

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