NewsRussian sabotage suspected in European pipeline and cyber attacks

Russian sabotage suspected in European pipeline and cyber attacks

Is the Kremlin responsible for subversion in Europe?
Is the Kremlin responsible for subversion in Europe?
Images source: © Getty Images | Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto

4:43 PM EDT, May 20, 2024

Have the Russians carried out effective sabotage throughout Europe since the beginning of the war? The intelligence services of almost all countries where unusual events have occurred seek confirmation of this thesis. However, it is already known that Russian links appear at many stages of the investigations.

It is no secret that in many European countries, after the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, there has been increasing talk about the risk of Russian sabotage and diversion. These discussions were often fueled by actual occurrences of "unusual" failures around critical infrastructures, including gas pipelines, after 2022.

Some high-profile incidents included damage to the Nord Stream gas pipelines and the Balticconnector, which is crucial for Scandinavian countries. The latter case particularly draws attention because, as WSJ journalists point out, the Finnish investigation reveals surprisingly many Russian-Chinese connections.

Preliminary investigation results indicate that at the moment the gas pipeline pressure dropped, the nearest vessel was a Chinese container ship traveling from the Kaliningrad Oblast. Finnish investigators suspect that the anchor involved in the sabotage came from the ship Newnew Polar Bear.

Did Russia carry out sabotage across Europe?

Unfortunately, despite the quick intervention, Scandinavian police officers could not inspect this vessel then. By the time they arrived on the scene, the ship was already in international waters, preventing the investigation from being concluded in 2023.

This strange coincidence was observed not only in the Estonian-Finnish gas pipeline incident. The British have raised similar suspicions towards Russians, who have been battling a massive wave of cyberattacks for several months. Strategic infrastructure has also been systematically attacked in Germany, which is much closer geographically.

Despite the disparate locations, these fires shared a common thread of suspected Russian diversionary actions.

Whether this was actually the case will be determined by individual investigations. However, the fact remains that as a frontline state and a significant support hub for Ukraine, Poland is particularly vulnerable to attacks by foreign services.

Related content