The report warns that “vital marine infrastructure” could be vulnerable to sabotage.
Russia is “covertly mapping” critical infrastructure in the North Sea, including gas pipelines and wind farms, in preparation for potential acts of sabotage, according to a report by Dutch intelligence agencies.
The joint report by the Dutch intelligence services AIVD and MIVD warns that “vital marine infrastructure” could be vulnerable to sabotage and that Russia is undertaking “activities that indicate espionage and acts to prepare for disruption and sabotage.” Russia was “very interested in how they could sabotage the energy infrastructure” MIVD director Jan Swillens told a news conference on Monday, adding that a Russian ship had been detected at an offshore wind farm.
“We saw in recent months Russian actors tried to uncover how the energy system works in the North Sea. It is the first time we have seen this,” Swillens said, according to Reuters.
The report warns that undersea internet cables are likewise vulnerable and notes that “a physical threat towards other vital sectors, such as drinking supply and energy supply, is also conceivable, as long as such attacks can be carried out covertly.”
EU and NATO countries have stepped up efforts to protect critical infrastructure since the deliberate sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea in September. While no culprit for the attack has been identified, several Western leaders have blamed Russia.
On Wednesday, NATO announced the creation of a new “critical undersea infrastructure coordination cell” at its Brussels headquarters to ensure militaries and civilian infrastructure operators can work more closely to protect vital infrastructure.
By Charlie Cooper