OREANDA-NEWS   Belgium has launched an investigation into the "suspicious behavior" of a Russian vessel near wind farms, underwater gas pipelines and communication cables, Minister for North Sea Affairs Vincent Van Quickenborn said. The Netherlands recently warned operators of its underwater infrastructure in the North Sea about the risks of sabotage by Russia.

Belgium recorded a "suspicious" Russian vessel in November after it was spotted in Dutch waters. It is claimed that the vessel followed without an automatic identification system, which should be turned on.

"We don't know exactly about the motives of this Russian vessel, but let's not be naive. Especially if it behaves suspiciously near our wind farms, underwater gas pipelines, data cables and other critical infrastructure," Mr. Quickenborn told reporters (quoted by AFP). The minister believes that the incident with the ship should be considered "in the broader context of the war in Ukraine."

The Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service earlier this week reported the discovery in the North Sea in recent months of a vessel that tried to map energy infrastructure facilities. The agency claimed that the operation failed, as the Dutch Navy and the Coast Guard reacted to it. At the same time, the intelligence service stated that Moscow is conducting "activities indicating espionage, as well as preparing operations for disruption and diversions" on underwater cables, offshore wind farms and gas pipelines.

In September 2022, there was a sabotage on the Nord Stream-1 and Nord Stream-2 gas pipelines, which were intended for the supply of Russian gas to Europe. They were undermined in the exclusive economic zone of Denmark and Sweden. No one has claimed responsibility for undermining the infrastructure. Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the "Anglo-Saxons" for the incident. In February 2023, journalist Seymour Hersh published an article in which he claimed that the United States was involved in sabotage, Washington called it a lie.