Russia spying on critical infrastructure in North Sea, European media claim

Investigations by Scandinavian media show that Russia is spying on critical infrastructure in the North Sea using civilian vessels. Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish investigative journalists from public broadcasters said on Wednesday that a Russian military programme was trying to capture the positions of wind farms, gas pipelines and electricity and internet cables around northern European countries.

The broadcasters state in the joint documentary Shadow War that Russian ships regularly patrol northern European waters. Although the ships try to stay under the radar by switching off their transmitters for identification, they can be detected.

As an example, the broadcasters talked about a Russian research vessel that was spotted in November near the Kattegat strait, between Denmark and Sweden. Officially, the ship was conducting marine research, but it had sent radio messages to a naval base in Russia. When Danish journalists boarded the ship, they saw a masked man with a weapon on deck.

The ship also passed Belgium late last year. The Maritime Information Crossroads, which monitors activity at sea, launched an investigation at the time because of its suspicious behaviour near the wind farms off Belgium's coast.

In total, the broadcasters have identified 50 ships that have travelled suspicious routes near vital infrastructure in the past decade. Cargo ships, fishing boats and yachts are also said to be involved. With the war in Ukraine, European countries fear that vital infrastructure could be targeted.



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