Russia ‘may have packed explosives’ onto the Nord Stream pipelines

Putin claims Nord stream pipeline was 'attacked'

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Another theory behind the alleged sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines has surfaced after Ukraine claimed Russia may have loaded explosives onto the system during its construction. The former CEO of Naftogaz, Ukraine’s state-owned gas giant, has speculated that the explosions that tore huge holes in the Baltic Sea pipelines, which forced gas to leak out into Danish and Swedish waters, may have come from detonated devices planted on the systems well before the incident took place. 

The Kremlin-controlled energy conglomerate Gazprom reportedly used its own ships to complete the final stages of construction on the system on the last sections of the pipeline around the Danish island of Bornholm, where the blasts were recorded. This is because US sanctions forced a Swiss contractor to pull out, leaving Russia to step in. 

Andriy Kobolyev, who left Naftogaz in 2021, has argued that during that process, Gazprom may have stuck on some explosive devices as a kind of insurance measure, adding that was it was not uncommon during the Soviet era to build explosives into key infrastructure. 

He told the Telegraph: “Knowing that many of these guys are ex-KGB, we shouldn’t be surprised that they use this as a standard. Even in Ukraine, we have such sensors. Gazprom, with all its money, will have installed more sensitive ones of Nord Stream 2.”

He added that this kind of equipment is “sensitive enough to answer the questions we are asking.”

And he noted that it would have been easily possible for the Russian energy giant to install these explosives unnoticed. Mr Kobolyev said: “The most important thing to have is construction noise that you can use to hide your actions.”

Luckily, Mr Kobolyev doubted that Russia would have done the same to energy infrastructure owned by the West as the consequences of such a move would be “too painful”. However, the UK is not ruling out the possibility may even target some of its own critical undersea pipelines. 

Now, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has sent out a Royal Navy frigate to patrol the North Sea to limit the chances of another attack, and is “working with the Norwegian Navy to reassure those working near the gas pipelines”.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has also pledged to send out two specialist ships to patrol and protect Britain’s subsea cable network from a potential incident of sabotage, warning that the UK’s  “internet and energy are highly reliant on pipelines and cables”.

He said: “The first multi-role survey ship for seabed warfare will be purchased by the end of this year, fitted out here in the UK and then operational before the end of next year. The second ship will be built in the UK and we will plan to make sure it covers all our vulnerabilities.”

However,  Brandon Weichert, a geopolitical analyst and former Congressional staff member, has told that two ships may not be enough two keep taps on a potential attack on this critical infrastructure. He said: “Two ships are not enough to defend the vast layers of cables.

“This is why since 2014, I’ve urged nations like Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, and others to cooperatively invest in enhancing their naval capabilities to be able to better defend the local waters from obvious Russian aggression. But the upside with Britain is that their navy is highly capable and two ships are better than none.

And while Mr Kobolyev speculated that the Russians may have planted the explosives during construction in a premeditated attack, other experts have speculated that underwater drones might have been used to plant the bombs. 

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