Opposition urges action over revelations that Russian boats are using Faroes as a marina

Ben Hamilton
April 24th, 2023

Leaders of Konservative and Radikale urge Danish government to intervene

Russian boats have been using the islands like a marina (photo: Vincent van Zeijst)

The fallout following the release of ‘Skyggekrigen’ (the shadow war), a new documentary co-produced by the public broadcasters of the four main Nordic nations, is continuing to deliver revelations about Russian espionage in the region that have been described as astonishing and worrying by Danish MPs.

This weekend, the Faroe Islands, which Russian ‘fishing boats’ carrying military radio equipment have reportedly been using as a marina for several years, has come under the spotlight.

‘Skyggekrigen’ has mapped the manoeuvres of 50 Russian boats in Nordic waters over the last ten years, and among them are the two Russian boats carrying military radio equipment intercepted by the Norwegian authorities over the weekend.

According to DR, ‘Lira’ and ‘Ester’ docked in Faroese ports over 200 times between 2015 and 2022. Last year, 23 of their 28 collective dockings were at the islands.

Opposition inner-circle speaking out
Several party leaders are concerned about the recent revelations – most notably the recently confirmed Opposition alliance of blue bloc duo Konservative and Liberal Alliance along with centrist party Radikale, whose leader Martin Lidegaard said it was unacceptable.

“We cannot accept that, and I assume that we have put an end to it right away – it is obviously unsustainable,” he told DR.

“We cannot allow the Russians to carry out that kind of surveillance in Danish and Faroese waters, and it breeds internal discord in the Commonwealth. This raises security policy questions that the Danish government has to react to and have a dialogue with the Faroese about how we handle this.”

The islands are an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark, but the Danish government has the authority to take over foreign and security policy should the need arise.

Konservative: Not a fisheries matter!
The current stance of the acting defence minister, Troels Lund Poulsen, is that all Faroese fishing agreements with Russia are a Faroese matter.

“I do not have the opportunity to interfere in that,” he told DR.

“But having said that, it is clear that if there is spying against the Commonwealth, Denmark also has an obligation to ensure that it does not take place. We will of course follow that, and we are already doing so today. It’s not like we’re naive.”


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