The Swedish National Seismic Network confirmed that as many as 30 of their measuring stations recorded the explosions with one of them having the strength of 2.3 on the Richter scale.
The pipeline had been filled with gas following its completion in November 2021, but Chancellor Olaf Scholz refused to certify its operation, and so it has remained out of service. Whilst the pipes were not operational, they were full of gas, approximately two days’ worth for Germany at a market value of more than €800 million. Most of the financial burden of Monday’s events will fall firmly on Russia, as they owned the gas. According to the Danish energy authority, more than half of the gas has already escaped from the lines concerned. The lines are expected to be empty on Sunday.
Two Nord Stream 1 leaks have now been identified; like the Nord Stream 2 rupture, they’re near Bornholm. There are three ruptures in total.
The EU and NATO assume sabotage. The Kremlin rejected speculation on Wednesday about Russian participation in the damage to the pipelines as “stupid and absurd.” German security authorities meanwhile assume that the three tubes of the North Stream Baltic Sea pipeline 1 and 2 after suspected acts of sabotage will be unusable forever.
German magazine Spiegel reported that the US Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”) recently warned Berlin about the increasing signs of a possible planned attack on the Nord Stream pipeline.
In January 2022, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said: “If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.”
In February 2022 President Biden said, “If Russia invades…then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”
It could be a coincidence but it just so happens that on Sunday, Germans had been demonstrating demanding an end to sanctions on Russia and the reopening of the pipelines.
In what could be another coincidence, the day after the Nord Stream was sabotaged, leaders from Poland, Norway and Denmark attended a ceremony to mark the opening of the new Baltic Pipe, a key stage in the drive to wean Poland and Europe off Russian gas.
Euronews: Baltic Pipe, Norway-Poland gas pipeline opens in a key move to cut dependency on Russia,
Radosław Sikorski, MEP, former Polish defence minister and husband of well-connected neoconservative intellectual Anne Appelbaum, has publicly thanked the United States for attacking the Nord Stream pipelines.
Jim Geraghty, the senior political correspondent for the American political journal National Review, has also praised the attacks in a brief column under the headline “Who Will Rid Me of This Meddlesome Pipeline?” He’s been arguing about the importance of taking Nord Stream 2 offline since February and suggests that the present attacks reflect his influence.
The United States warned the German government weeks ago of possible attacks on gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. According to information from Spiegel, a corresponding tip from the US intelligence service CIA was received in Berlin in the summer.
Several persons familiar with the matter confirmed this. …
Even before the invasion of Ukraine, NATO partners had repeatedly pointed to suspicious activities of Russian ships over nodes of the underwater networks.
However, an initial analysis of satellite images from the area of the incidents showed only inconspicuous ship traffic at first glance, security circles said.
The Tagesspiegel has a longer piece today trying to come up with a plausible motive for Russia. They imagine that a Russian attack might have had the purpose of allowing Gazprom to escape contractual requirements to deliver gas through Nord Stream 1, thus driving European energy prices higher. Alternatively, they propose it might’ve been a ruse to circumvent sanctions for the repair of the pipeline. To even retype these theses is to reveal their infirmity.
UPDATE: One speculative point I’m been thinking about, is it looks like the attacks were partially botched. According to all reports, one of the Nord Stream 2 pipes has not been ruptured, and about 17 hours passed between the first and second explosions. Ideally, they would’ve cut all four pipes simultaneously, no?
The most likely suspect of the sabotage
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson outlined the most likely suspect of the sabotage against Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipeline.
Tucker Carlson: This is an atrocity, 28 September 2022 (11 mins)
The Daily Sceptic published an article in August about the “Nord Stream 2 theory” of the Ukraine war. It quoted journalist Mike Whitney who in February argued that “the Ukrainian crisis has nothing to do with Ukraine – it’s about Germany and, in particular, a pipeline that connects Germany to Russia called Nord Stream 2.”
And a 2015 article published in Pipeline Technology Journal may give hints of a method of sabotage and an earlier, aborted attack on the pipeline when the Swedish military cleared an unmanned underwater vehicle rigged with explosives that had been found near Nord Stream 2.