January 31, 2023

Raven Tribune

Complete News World

Nord Stream Sabotage: Doubts About Russian Culprits

Those involved in the Nord Stream sabotage are yet to be found. Now suspicions about Russia’s possible involvement must grow.

Russia is increasingly being questioned over the explosions at the Nord Stream pipelines. After months of investigations, there is still no clear indication of who detonated the underwater gas pipelines in September. According to a new Washington Post report, there are doubts that Russia could be responsible. “At this point there is no evidence that Russia is behind the sabotage,” one European official told the newspaper, echoing the assessment of 23 diplomats and intelligence officials in nine countries interviewed in recent weeks.

The Baltic Sea gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2 were destroyed for a length of about 250 meters. Many craters were found at the bottom of the sea. Experts believed the bomb charges were linked. Russia quickly drew attention as a potential culprit.

Point to Moscow

Four days after the incident, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said it looked like Russia might be to blame. According to an unconfirmed report by Bild newspaper, the federal government suspected the Russian secret service GRU. Economy Minister Robert Habeck also pointed in Moscow’s direction. When Russia says “it’s not us,” it’s “I’m not a thief,” he reportedly said in October.

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Clues are hard to find

Research by the “Washington Post” now says that many respondents reject Russia’s involvement. Others left open the possibility that other states could be responsible for the attacks. Experts agree the explosions were no accident. A German government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to The Washington Post that explosives had been planted on the outside of the pipe.

But the search for clues turns out to be complicated under the water’s surface. A senior US State Department official was quoted as saying, “Forensics in such an investigation would be very difficult.” Swedish investigators found only traces of explosives on foreign bodies.

There is no concrete evidence linking Russia to the bombings. There were no traces of electronic communications, while radio messages and other information about the invasion of Ukraine were initially intercepted, the official said. Norway is investigating drones that were allegedly flying nearby during the attack – but so far no results are available.

Baltic Sea: Underwater images show the extent of the destruction of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. (Source: T-Online)

What motive would Moscow have had?

There is unanimous agreement that a State has issued an order. “We know that explosives of this magnitude would require a state-level actor,” Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said in an interview this month. “It’s not just a fisherman deciding to put a bomb there. It’s very professional.”

After the incident, the question of Moscow’s possible motive arose. Because to stop the flow of gas, Russia could have simply turned off the pipeline. The Kremlin has long used this threat against the West because the destroyed line is no longer of any use. As a counterargument, it was argued that the German “no” to Nord Stream 2 did not make economic sense for Russia. On the other hand, demonstrating how vulnerable critical infrastructure is to attack may have had an impact on the West.

However, so far no evidence has followed possible motives. More recently, so-called dark ships have been spotted in satellite images near crime scenes. They seem to have turned off their signals. According to an investigation by T-Online, Germany sent its special vessel ATAIR to gather information for the Central Police. But the central government prosecutor remained silent on the work and results. Neither the submarine nor the submarines planted the bombs, nor the fishing boats where the criminals landed the underwater drones. An official interviewed by the Washington Post resigned. “That’s not good. Anyone can get away with it.”