Investigation by Belgian journalists: Russia used civilian ships for espionage in the North Sea ᐉ News from – World

Belgian media recently reported on mysterious activities in the North Sea. Data from a journalistic investigation indicates that Russia is using civilian ships for espionage, raising concerns due to their proximity to critical infrastructure such as submarine cables, wind farms and pipelines, BTA reports.

The investigation found that 945 movements of 200 Russian ships were closely monitored. Many of these ships have been observed close to vital maritime infrastructure, often only a kilometer away. This pattern of movement is particularly noticeable off the Belgian coast, where at least five ships have raised suspicions of intelligence gathering since the beginning of this year.

The task of identifying potential espionage activities has become more complex. The Belgian Maritime Security Service notes that not only military and research vessels, but also apparently innocent fishing boats can serve for espionage purposes. An important indicator of suspicious behavior is when ships slow down unexpectedly. Moreover, concerns are not limited to Russian ships; Chinese dual-use ships are also being closely watched.

Most of this suspicious activity was recorded just before Russia’s attack on Ukraine two years ago, suggesting a strategic motive behind the espionage. The information collected could potentially facilitate sabotage operations against critical European infrastructure.

In response to these threats, several EU countries met in Ostend, Belgium last April. The meeting aimed to strengthen joint efforts to extract energy from the North Sea and improve the interconnection of their energy systems. The participating countries are Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Norway and Luxembourg.

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