Search for ‘saboteurs’ Nord Stream in full swing: ‘Especially suitable for submarines’

It has become clear that the three leaks in the two major gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea were due to ‘strong underwater explosions’ that were observed by Swedish and Danish monitoring stations on Monday.

One of the explosions had the magnitude of a small earthquake, 2.3 on the Richter scale. Since then, seawater has been bubbling over the pipes due to the leaking gas.

Sweden and Denmark are based on intent. In light of the extensive damage to the pipes and the deep location, they believe that an accident is highly unlikely. NATO chief Stoltenberg and EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell now also speak in statements about ‘sabotage’ and ‘no coincidence’.

“Divers Excluded”

So the gas leak is being investigated as deliberate attacks. According to the German armed forces, three attack scenarios are conceivable: underwater, from a boat or from the air. “The use of divers is largely out of the question because the pipelines are 70 to 80 meters below sea level,” a military officer told German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

What remains are submarines, ships, planes and drones. According to the Germans, the Baltic Sea is large enough to cover long distances unnoticed, although the sea has been intensively controlled by NATO countries since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

flying objects

“Submarines are particularly suitable for these missions in the Baltic Sea with their relatively shallow depth,” said the officer, who further points out that ‘flying objects’ can escape the eye of NATO scouts at low altitude and with the right technical equipment.

A few hundred kilos of explosives are needed to achieve the measured earthquake of 2.3 on the Richter scale, says defense expert Peter Wijninga to RTL Nieuws. “You have to have some kind of submarine or a remotely controlled underwater drone to place such a payload.”

Suspicious movements

According to the former air force officer, only Russia, a number of European countries, the United States and China are capable of placing such a cargo. “All kinds of sensors will now be checked to see if there has been any suspicious movement in the vicinity of the explosions. It might give something.” According to him, if a submarine or drone was used, a mother ship must not have been too far away either. This can possibly be determined with satellite images.

Meanwhile, countries are falling over each other to blame someone else. Most fingers are pointing at Russia, which today called these claims through Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov “stupid” and “predictable”. The country also pointed to American companies, which, now that the gas pipelines have been shut down, would earn much more from gas supplies to Europe.

Time of the day

The timing of the explosions is also interesting. These took place the day before the festive opening ceremony of the so-called Baltic Pipe, a new 900 kilometer long gas pipeline that transports Norwegian natural gas via Denmark to Poland, as a replacement for Russian gas. The pipeline connects to the existing Europipe II pipeline, which runs to Germany. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was also present at the ceremony in Poland.

The fear is that other underwater critical infrastructure will also be destroyed in the near future. Think of other oil and gas pipelines, power lines and internet cables, many of which also run to the Netherlands.

Security screwed up

Denmark and Sweden have already tightened security in the Baltic Sea. Norway, which previously observed “unknown drones” at its oil and gas platforms, also did so. Although the country says it sees no increased specific threats to its installations at sea, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said this morning.

“The suspected sabotage of the pipelines in the Baltic Sea is a further reminder of our dependence on critical infrastructure, including underwater,” German Defense Minister Lambrecht said in a statement on Wednesday. She said the German navy is helping to investigate the cause of the explosions.

The Ministry of Defense believes that it may take at least a week before all the gas in the pipelines has leaked out and an on-site inspection can be carried out.

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