What is left out of the attention of Western investigative journalists on Nord Stream - 2 issue? Several aspects.
1. First of all, about the details, that is, the technical aspects of sabotage on the pipes
It's strange that none of the investigators thought to analyze the technicalities. The material should be above all else, especially for those who are investigators. Also, the authors of the "newspaper scenario" about the omnipotence of the Ukrainian non-state group for some reason did not take into account the fact that Ukraine has no access to the Baltic and does not have any point of basing, this sea is unknown to "professionals who once received state training." And this is important so that there are no surprises in the course of an unprecedented operation. I repeat, an unprecedented operation, you will not find anything like it in the history of subsea pipelines, especially since there are not many of them in the whole world.
What is a gas pipeline pipe, how is it laid and what is required to destroy it? The pipe is made of special high-strength ferritic bainitic steel, with an internal diameter of 1153 mm and a wall thickness of up to 41 (!) mm. In addition, the pipe is also concreted. The concrete shell is made of crushed and compacted iron ore mixed with 110 mm thick cement. The pipe is tested with a pressure of up to 500 (!) atmospheres. This is important in the context of the fact that a few tens of kilograms of explosives will not solve the problem of blowing up the pipe. And that's not all.
The pipe does not just lie on the seabed. In order to stabilize it on the bottom and prevent it from surfacing, the underwater gas pipeline is covered with a good layer of stones using special stone-laying vessels. It seems that about 3 million tons of stones were poured onto each of the streams. That is, there is no direct access to the pipe itself. It is necessary to either shovel the stones, dig a hole, or increase the amount of explosives several times to guarantee that the pipe will be blown up under the stone "casing".
All of this means that the relevant preparatory work must be carried out by a civilian, but properly equipped vessel with a specially trained crew, equipped with a manipulator for underwater technical work and an underwater vehicle. And these works cannot be done in one dive within an hour, and in several places at that.
Here's the official report from Deutsche Welle some time after the explosions: On the Nord Stream gas pipeline, the length of the pipe section destroyed by the alleged sabotage is about 250 meters, the operator Nord Stream AG said. "According to the preliminary results of the inspection of the damage site, man-made craters with a depth of 3 to 5 meters at a distance of about 248 meters from each other were found on the seabed. The section of the pipe between the craters is completely destroyed, with a scattering radius of at least 250 meters." Imagine the force of an explosion when the crater is up to 5 meters deep and the fragments are scattered 250 meters away. And this is underwater, in a dense environment, not in the air!!!
Against this background, a piece of description in a German newspaper about a yacht or some boat with a dashing crew looks comical: "According to the investigation, the group consisted of five people - a captain, two divers and two assistant divers, as well as a female doctor. This team delivered the explosives to the gas pipeline and secured them there." It's as simple as that - delivered and secured! But this is not a shahid's belt! If the seismic stations in the Baltic recorded the bottom shaking, then we can estimate at least the order of magnitude of the explosive mass - it is several hundred kilograms!
Here is one of the reports after the explosion: "The force of one of the explosions was 2.3 points on the Richter scale, which Danish experts described as the explosion of a powerful World War II bomb."
And the depth of the water makes it difficult to carry out the relevant work. Of course, the Baltic is not the Black Sea with more than 2 km of depth, but it is not the Azov Sea either. The 80-100-meter depth of the PP1 and PP2 gas pipelines means that heavy diving equipment is required - when working at a depth of more than 60 meters, it is required (according to the instructions), about an hour at such a depth requires more than two hours for decompression, and setting charges takes much longer. Moreover, to detonate at such a depth, you need to have a special charge so that the detonation mechanism can withstand the bottom pressure and work properly when it receives the detonation signal.
Experienced specialists in special underwater technical work say that it is likely that either a dry-type mini-boat with manipulators or a suitable remotely operated underwater vehicle was used to carry out the preparatory work. All this equipment is complex, expensive and cannot be bought in a supermarket, and it is almost impossible to transport it from Ukraine and bring it to another country unnoticed. Likewise, the purchase of such equipment or its rental from someone would not have gone unnoticed by the omniscient Western and Russian intelligence organizations.
Of course, the statement that "the explosives were most likely planted with the help of experienced divers" is true, but the conclusion that they "did not work for the military or intelligence services...it is possible that the perpetrators had received special state training in the past" is laughable.
The Germans should have an idea of what the Baltic is, because it washes the German shores. Americans might not, because for them the Baltic is not the Hudson. But there is Marinetraffic to help, and it shows a high density of traffic on this sea. That's why it's very difficult to do anything covertly there. Even what the Russians were doing secretly during the completion of the Nord Stream 2 became known, and we described it back in 2021. The link to the publication is below.
2. What is hidden behind the works of Western investigators?
First of all, this is not so much about "flows" as about causing another portion of mutual suspicion and distrust between the United States, Germany and Ukraine, Ukraine and the European Union. And this is the main goal of these publications against the backdrop of attempts by Trumpists and Putinversteher of various calibers on both sides of the Atlantic to break solidarity with Ukraine and whitewash the Kremlin in order to make another attempt to negotiate with it. In this sense, it's nothing new. Divide and conquer!
But there is something new that is worth paying attention to. This is an attempt to show as a package that Russia, the US, Europe, and Britain are not involved in the sabotage:
"Some initial US and European speculation focused on possible Russian culpability, especially given its prowess in underwater operations, although it is unclear what motivation the Kremlin would have to sabotage the pipelines, given that they were an important source of revenue and a means for Moscow to exert influence in Europe. It is estimated that the cost of repairing the pipelines is approximately $500 million. U.S. officials say they have found no evidence that the Russian government was involved in the attack... U.S. officials said no Americans or Britons were involved."
And, further developing the package approach, to show that the sabotage was carried out by Ukrainians with anti-Putin Russians: "Officials who have reviewed the intelligence said they believed the saboteurs were likely Ukrainian or Russian nationals, or some combination of the two."
This passage in the NYT article shows how Russian ears are perked up, stringing together case after case of dubious claims to make the Ukrainian trail version more plausible:
"Despite Ukraine's deep dependence on the United States for military, intelligence, and diplomatic support, Ukrainian officials have not always been transparent with their American counterparts about their military operations, especially against Russian targets behind enemy lines.
Operations that have embarrassed the United States have included an early August strike on Russia's Saki air base on the west coast of Crimea, a truck bombing in October that destroyed part of the Kerch Bridge connecting Russia to Crimea, and drone strikes in December that targeted Russian military bases in Ryazan and Engels...
But there have been other acts of sabotage and violence of more ambiguous origin that have been more difficult for U.S. intelligence agencies to attribute to Ukrainian security services. One of them was a car bomb explosion near Moscow in August that killed Daria Dugina, the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist.
Kyiv denied any involvement, but U.S. intelligence agencies eventually concluded that the killing was sanctioned by what officials called "elements" of the Ukrainian government.
The explosions that tore apart the Nord Stream pipelines occurred five weeks after Ms. Dugina's murder. In the aftermath of the Nord Stream operation, there was muted speculation - and concern - in Washington that parts of the Ukrainian government may have been involved."
Somehow, this reminds me of the "chainmail scandal" of 2002, when Ukraine was accused of supplying passive radio reconnaissance stations to Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq and suspected of supplying North Korea with parts and technology for North Korean missiles. "North Korea's Missile Success Tied to Ukrainian Plant," the same New York Times wrote in 2017. Neither of these claims has been confirmed.
3. Why was only one thread out of four existing on both streams left undetonated?
This is, in fact, one of the key questions. If an explosive charge had been planted there and it did not work, it would have been found immediately and the investigation, if not ended with the discovery of the "authors," would have at least reported an "explosive device of unknown origin that did not work."
But this did not happen, because there was no fourth explosive device. One thread was deliberately left in a functional state. Who needed such a configuration - to blow up three pipes and leave one, and to leave one thread of PP2, not PP1?
The answer is: the one who left the Germans a chance to "think it over" and who was going to "save" them in the cold winter of 2022-2023, telling the whole world how Europe would freeze, while producing primitive videos. And in case of successful "saving Europe," mock the Germans, saying that despite your obstructionism of NS2, it was NS2 that saved you. And then, as a gesture of "goodwill," repair the pipes. It would cost only some 500 million dollars. It will cost the United States about $500 million, and Europe will be warm again and have cheap gas from Gazprom.
4. Why are there still no results of the investigation?
I assume that in fact it is already clear who the "author of the scenario" is and who the executor of the special underwater operation is. But making this public will require tough retaliatory actions. And our Western hybrid friends do not want to do this, because they would rather have a "war in Ukraine" than a "war in Europe," as they imagine. Because this will lead to escalation, to a war between NATO and Russia. That's why the "creative work" - the sabotage was done by a "pro-Ukrainian group" - the official Ukrainian government had nothing to do with it, but some such group appeared somewhere and did what they wanted. They say that non-state actors in times of hybrid wars are capable of more than that...
5. What does Western intelligence look like against the backdrop of the voiced version?
In the German "Die Zeit" it is about a yacht with 6 saboteurs on board, which went to sea from Rostock (a German port!), and was loaded with the necessary equipment and explosives by truck. That's how I imagined Ilya Ponomarev, from a yacht rented from a Polish company owned by some two Ukrainians, leading a group of saboteurs with a can of beer on the top deck in the company of a desperate doctor, while they were floundering on the bottom of the sea.
If we assume that something like this happened, it turns out that all the intelligence and special services of the United States, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Russia are worthless, since they did not notice anything suspicious in the gas pipeline corridor, which they had constantly in their field of attention, as well as the entire Baltic Sea, at the bottom of which there are not only Russian flows, but also European fiber-optic communication lines and power cables for electricity transmission.
It's hard to believe that the omniscient were blind...
6. Could the players still be motivated to sabotage?
The disinformation volley from the New York Times and Die Zeit is more subtle than the previous one from Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hirsch, but it is based on a motivational basis - that Ukrainians have a powerful motive to destroy the "flows" in order to leave Russia without an alternative route through Ukraine. It is noteworthy that the motivations of other potential "authors" of the sabotage are ignored.
This is because it was an "investigation" in the direction specified by the customer and with a predetermined "result". Pulitzer Prize-winning author Seymour Hirsch clearly went overboard with his argumentation about the motives of the United States and Norway to destroy a competitor for their gas supplies to Europe. The phrase "cheap Russian gas" repeated eight times with a hint of expensive American and Norwegian gas is clearly too much for such a text and shows whose ears are sticking out behind this main argument of the Kremlin's gas propaganda for decades.
Let me put forward another version of who did it. Based on motives. It was not Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians or Estonians! Not the Qataris! Not the Australians! It's the Chinese! There are many of them. They are implementing a special strategic geo-economic operation to turn Russian gas exports eastward under the slogan of Big Xi: "All Russian gas should go to the development of the Celestial Empire!" Everything was done, of course, by someone else's hands, hired "experienced divers who did not work for the military or intelligence services, but had special state training in the past" Well, as you can imagine, this is for fun and to demonstrate that not everything that looks legal is true.
P.S. To understand what happened (of course, I do not claim to be the only true version), see the 2021 and 2022 publications of the Center for Global Studies "Strategy XXI" on suspicious underwater activities in the area of completion of the CCS2. It talks about special civilian vessels, divers, and specific individuals and organizations that were involved and that are definitely, not hypothetically, capable of blowing up not only underwater gas pipelines.
Mykhailo Honcharnord stream russia ukraine war ukraine front lines