- Russia has been using ships to spy in Nordic waters, a joint investigation by four countries’ public broadcasters found.
- They are collecting intel on wind farms, gas pipelines, and power and internet cables, report said.
- Norway’s NRK reported at least 50 Russian ships gathered intelligence there in the last ten years.
Russia is surveying the North Sea to find possible targets that could sabotage the energy infrastructure of Nordic countries, according to a new investigation.
Targets include wind farms, gas pipelines, and power and internet cables, a joint-report by public broadcasters in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway found.
The outlets also tracked dozens of Russian research and fishing ships, and reported that they regularly went key energy infrastructure.
The head of the Norwegian Intelligence Service, Nils Andreas Stensønes, told DR that Moscow is directly controlling the effort.
And Anders Henriksen, the Danish Police Intelligence Service’s counterintelligence chief told DR that Russia’s ships are ready to act to shut down Danish society if there is conflict between Russia and the West.
Norway’s NRK reported that at least 50 Russian ships have been involved in intelligence gathering in Nordic waters over the last 10 years, and that some of them have appeared during NATO exercises.
Sweden’s SVT reported that 27 Russian spy ships had been seen in Swedish waters, with the Swedish Navy’s press officer telling the outlet that the country can’t do more than monitor them.
The BBC also reported on Wednesday that UK officials are aware of Russian ships moving in UK waters as part of the same effort.
DR reported that intercepted Russian navy communications showed Russian ships who had turned off their transmitters sailing in Nordic waters. It referred to them as Russian “ghost ships.”
One of the ships, Russian marine research vessel “Admiral Vladimirsky,” sailed near current and future offshore wind farms, and stayed there for a few days, the outlets found. Intelligence sources told DR that the ship also does intelligence work alongside its research.
The sources said that they think the ship’s aim was to get ready to take actions like shutting off the power supply of north-west Europe. Experts also gave the same assessment to DR.
DR reported that the ship continuously sent radio messages that had its positions to a naval base in Russia.
DR said that open of its journalists sailed out to near the ship, and saw men with covered faces, including a man wearing a uniform and a bulletproof vest with a Russian military rifle.
Russia’s ambassador to Norway told NRK that any research being done by Russia was properly coordinated through diplomatic channels in accordance with international law.
The broadcasters revealed the information as part of their new documentary series.
Many countries bordering Russia have stepped up their military spending, increased their military alliances, and have reinforced their borders.
They have warned that Russia, even as it is bogged down in Ukraine, is a threat and could choose to attack them.
European countries are also warning about an increased number of spies from Russia.
This includes Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution claimed that Russian spy levels in the country are now at the same level as they were during the Cold War, according to German outlet Welt am Sonntag.