Nord Stream consists of several pipelines running under the Baltic Sea, connecting Germany with Russia and supplying Europe with large quantities of natural gas. The project was both expensive and controversial because it increased the West’s dependence on the Kremlin, but at the same time gave us cheap and relatively clean energy.
A few days ago, the gas pipelines were sabotaged, at a depth of about 70 metres between The Danish island of Bornholm and the Polish coast. The repairs could take years, and with the current political mood there is a possibility that they will be abandoned.
The question then is, who has the motive and technical capability to carry out such an attack?
Since Russia is a co-owner and has the ability to turn off the gas at will, the charges against the Kremlin become quite elusive. Why hijack its own pipeline? For one thing, they will lose revenue, and for another, it will cost huge sums to repair. So, unless Putin is playing some kind of extremely advanced chess game, the Russian suspicion can almost be dismissed. The construction cost of Nordstream ended up at over €15 billion.
Who else has the opportunity? Poland has a relatively weak fleet of older submarines. Ukraine, which would benefit from the move, probably does not have the resources to carry out the blasts. The Danes, Finns and Baltics have no submarines at their disposal. And the Germans, would they be inclined to cut the lifeblood of their own industry? Already the energy situation is dire, and the price of heating has skyrocketed; many German pensioners will freeze over the coming winter, and factories will be forced to close.
The sabotage may not require submarines, but it will need underwater technology, ships, or possibly aircraft, and transport to and from the site, without revealing its intent. The more you think about it, without being a military expert, it requires fairly advanced technology and planning. We can probably exclude terrorists or private individuals, it requires large resources that only a state and its military can provide.
Sweden is known for its submarines, and the so-called Blekinge class is being developed to take over from the older submarine fleet. It also has a good naval tradition, including underwater operations. Sweden has historically been a strong naval power, having defeated the Russians in the Baltic Sea. Norwegians and Brits also have submarines, it should be added, and are not afraid of cold sea winds.
So, the Swedes could have done it, but are there any motives? They do not take part of the gas themselves as the pipeline does not run into Scandinavia. And why would a previously neutral nation want to interfere in world politics in this way? If Swedes or Norwegians are behind it, it is probably at the behest of NATO or its more prominent member states.
The US and its military industry, on the other hand, have everything to gain from a protracted war. And by cutting the gas pipeline, it prevents the Germans from going back to Putin, as winter approaches, and breaks the sanctions and the isolation of the Kremlin. After all, the Germans need gas for their industry and to keep people from freezing, since they have closed their nuclear power plants and replaced them with low-efficiency wind turbines and solar cells. The situation is becoming increasingly desperate.
But would the Americans really want to create such a mess among their allies in Europe? That would suggest pure evil? Maybe it was Putin after all, who blew up his own 15 billion gas pipeline and put a stop to future revenues; just to screw around…