DISS: Russian threat puts security of Europe and the Netherlands at risk

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is having terrible effects on the Ukrainian people and has drastically affected the security situation of Europe and the Netherlands. The Defence Intelligence and Security Service (DISS) warned of threats posed by Russia, also to the Netherlands, in 2021. This is stated in the DISS 2021 annual report, which was published today.

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GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, was very active in cyber espionage over the past year.

In relation to the Netherlands, the DISS noted that the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, was very active in cyber espionage over the past year. These cyber espionage campaigns were directed against political and strategic targets such as government authorities, international think tanks, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and diplomats. In addition, Russia remains interested in international defence suppliers.


The DISS disclosed that GRU cyber spies hacked Dutch routers of small and medium-sized enterprises and private individuals. They were therefore able to conduct cyber operations using the routers of citizens and businesses that were unaware of the situation. The DISS warned the individuals and businesses concerned.

Russian navy in the North Sea

Russia’s constant development of weapons technology and its introduction of new weapon systems are also a cause for concern. Furthermore, in 2021, the DISS observed an increase in the activity of the Russian navy in the North Sea. This increased activity is not only a result of the growth of the Russian fleet, it is also meant to convey a military and strategic message.

Full attention

The increased threat level has made current and reliable intelligence more important than ever. The DISS can also disrupt hostile operations against Dutch interests. As Major General Jan Swillens, Director of the DISS, explained, “Our service actively contributes to the resilience of the Netherlands. There can be no security without intelligence. It is our duty to draw attention to current threats. The threats posed by Russia are not the only ones. From a security perspective, China’s conduct also has our full attention.”