Nordic Media Reveals Russia's Secret Operations in Waters around Their States

Wednesday, 19 April 2023

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.

Accroding to the joint investigation by public broadcasters in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, Russian intelligence activities were revealed when the Scandinavian broadcasting companies DK, NRK, SVT and Yle examined information about radio traffic and the location of Russian ships around their states.

A large number of Russian military and civilian ships in the waters around Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden are studying the seabed with the help of 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 northwestern 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 floating in the waters of Northern Europe. These vessels have turned off their so-called AIS transmitters and are not reporting their location.

An example is the Russian Navy ship Admiral Vladimirsky. Officially, it is engaged in marine research, but sources say that it is also used for reconnaissance work. 

The ship moved near seven wind farms off Britain and the Netherlands during one mission. The vessel slowed down as it approached areas where there are wind farms.

As the journalists approached the ship in a small boat, they encountered a man in a balaclava holding a weapon that looked like a military assault rifle.

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

A Danish counterintelligence officer told reporters that the Russian Federation is preparing sabotage plans in case of a complete conflict with the West. The head of Norwegian intelligence told investigators that this military programme is essential for Russia and is controlled directly by Moscow.

On 16 March, NATO and the EU held the first meeting dedicated to establishing a new task force on the sustainability of critical infrastructure against the background of 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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