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“Russian ships spy on Dutch coast”

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De Admiral Vladimirsky in juli 2020. — © AP

Russian spy ships have been quietly stationed near the Dutch coast in recent months, near data cables, wind farms and gas pipelines. This is evident from research by Pointer, the platform for investigative journalism of the broadcaster KRO-NCRV. There are indications that the Russians use underwater drones for espionage and sabotage.

Sunday, December 3, 2023 at 11:22 AM

In recent months, Pointer, together with Marineschips.nl and the Danish public broadcaster DR, investigated the activities of Russian spy ships. They discovered that two Russian research ships recently visited Dutch waters. The Admiral Vladimirsky was moored off the Dutch coast at the end of June and the beginning of July. The Yevgeny Gorigledzhan, about which Pointer previously wrote, appeared in the North Sea at the end of October.

“There are indications that the Russians use underwater drones for espionage and sabotage. But what exactly they do there remains a mystery. The Navy and Coast Guard lack the ability to investigate this or do something about it,” it said.

“Possible sabotage”

The journalists analyzed ship data and satellite images, spoke to sources within the intelligence services and navy and interviewed experts on the subject. According to the journalists, this shows that the Netherlands does not have a good answer to the threat of espionage and sabotage in the North Sea.

“I think it is very serious,” responds VVD MEP Bart Groothuis. He is very concerned about the Russian presence in the North Sea. “They are not there to win a Nobel Prize in a scientific sense, but rather to see how they can possibly sabotage it. Or otherwise be able to preposition themselves in the long term to sabotage things at their moment of choice.”

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