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21 Apr, 2023 14:13

‘Sophisticated naval forces’ bombed Nord Stream – Danish navy veteran

The perpetrator had access to advanced underwater drones, a former diver told Bloomberg
‘Sophisticated naval forces’ bombed Nord Stream – Danish navy veteran

Whoever sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines likely had access to fast-moving underwater drones, one of Denmark’s most “experienced navy divers” told Bloomberg on Thursday. NATO forces trained with these unmanned underwater vehicles near the blast site prior to the explosions.

The diver said that “finding the pipelines without precise coordinates or tracking technology, then transporting and placing the explosives, would’ve challenged diver-saboteurs,” in the newspaper’s words.

“The diver estimates the operation, including a safe ascent, would’ve taken an individual diver several hours. He surmises that whoever carried out the attack had access to a fast-moving autonomous submersible vehicle, like the ones employed by sophisticated naval forces,” the report continued, adding that “a surface vessel remaining relatively static for hours…would’ve attracted unwanted attention.”

The Danish navy described the diver’s hypothesis as sound, while the country’s intelligence agency, defense ministry, and foreign affairs ministry offered no comment.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines –  which were built to deliver Russian natural gas directly to Germany – lost pressure abruptly on September 26, following a series of underwater explosions off the Danish island of Bornholm, within the economic zones of Denmark and Sweden. Denmark is one of five countries independently investigating the incidents but has not shared any conclusions.

The diver’s hypothesis seems to disprove the theory – promulgated by US and German spies in the New York Times and Washington Post – that a “pro-Ukrainian group” used a rented yacht to ferry explosives to the blast site. The intelligence officials quoted by both newspapers made no mention of the supposed group having at their disposal underwater drones.

NATO militaries do, however, have access to these unmanned subs. During last June’s BALTOPS exercises, the US navy’s Sixth Fleet trained with underwater “mine-hunting” drones for ten days off the coast of Bornholm, according to a NATO statement. The Ukrainian government has also received six of these drones from the UK, and although the Sixth Fleet trained Kiev’s forces in operating them, no evidence has emerged placing Ukrainian operators near Bornholm last summer.

According to a report by American journalist Seymour Hersh, US navy divers used the BALTOPS drills as cover to plant the explosives, aided by their Norwegian counterparts. Citing a source with “direct knowledge of the operational planning,” Hersh said that the sabotage mission was planned by the CIA under the direct orders of President Joe Biden.

Multiple US officials have denied Hersh’s version of events, and a former CIA operative told Bloomberg that, in his opinion, someone involved in the planning would have stepped in and said “this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” However, Hersh wrote that this exact scenario happened – with State Department and CIA officials deeming the plan “stupid” – but the skeptics were overruled and the pipelines destroyed with explosives triggered remotely three months after they were planted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last month that he “fully agrees” with Hersh’s conclusions, blaming the sabotage on “US intelligence.” The Kremlin has dismissed the “pro-Ukrainian group” theory, calling it “a coordinated media hoax campaign.”