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Tags putin , russia , Russia-EU relations , Russia-Ukraine war , ukraine

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Old 27th September 2022, 06:57 AM   #1
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'Strong Baltic Sea underwater blasts' - Nord Stream gas pipes leaking / Sabotage?

Two underwater gas leaks have been spotted bubbling up to the surface of the Baltic Sea by the Danish Military, near Bornholm island (which has a military base). Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederickson, says it is hard to believe it is accidental.

The Swedish seismology wing of the military now say there were two definite blasts in the region, as measured by their devices.

Quote:
The Swedish national broadcaster SVT is reporting that seismologists registered explosions near the Nord Stream pipelines in the last 36 hours. In a report published in the last few minutes it said:

SVT can reveal that measuring stations in both Sweden and Denmark registered strong underwater explosions in the same area as the gas leaks on Monday. “There is no doubt that these are explosions,” says Björn Lund, lecturer in seismology at the Swedish National Seismic Network, SNSN.

The first explosion was recorded at 02.03am on the night of Monday and the second at 7.04pm on Monday evening.

The warnings about the gas leaks came from the Maritime Administration at 1.52pm and 8.41pm on Monday, respectively, after ships detected bubbles on the surface.

SVT has obtained the coordinates of the measured explosions and they are in the same area where the gas leaks were registered.
GUARDIAN

Shipping is being diverted and there is a no-fly zone over the area.

It is a set back for the planned Nord Stream pipelines to Norway and Poland.


It is not known if there is any connection to the Ukraine war or the fact of the Russian military base Kaliningrad, nearby. There have been naval exercises in the area, associated with NATO.
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:05 AM   #2
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"Someone" has blown up NordStream 1

Three holes in the pipeline supplying gas from Russia to Germany.

One hole in Swedish waters, and two in Danish waters, outside the Danish island of Bornholm.

There have been reports of big explosions under water.

Gas is coming up to the surface and covering an area of 100 meter in diameter.

Everyone knows who did this.
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:09 AM   #3
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As an interesting sidenote, Norwegian installations in the North Sea has been reporting unknown drones flying close.

Sabotage against these would hurt the gas supply to Europe further.
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:10 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ryokan View Post
Three holes in the pipeline supplying gas from Russia to Germany.

One hole in Swedish waters, and two in Danish waters, outside the Danish island of Bornholm.

There have been reports of big explosions under water.

Gas is coming up to the surface and covering an area of 100 meter in diameter.

Everyone knows who did this.
Maybe I'm an idiot, but I don't. It would seem strange to me for Russia to do it, since they don't need holes in the pipeline to shut it down. They can do that on a whim without having to damage anything. Which is better, because then they can turn it back on whenever they want. I'm not sure what other state actors would be in the mood to do that. Ukrainians might be willing to in order to force the issue between Russia and Germany, but they don't have a navy to speak of and it's not in the Baltic anyways.

So who's the obvious culprit that I'm missing?
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:16 AM   #5
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Yeah, this is a weird one. No one has any real reason to target it.

Pressure build-up due to incompetence and the distractions of war? I don't know whether that's possible.
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:22 AM   #6
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The obvious culprit is of course Russia. This is not an easy task to do. It would require a submarine, IMO.

This way they can say that they wanted to still supply Europe with gas, but someone else blew up the pipeline. Don't look at us. What can you do?

Now they get to strangle Europe's gas supply as well as plausible deniability that it's their fault.

The surge of energy prices in Europe has the very real possibility of destabilizing Europe. Populist parties with simple solutions are gaining support.

It's also a classic example of the Russian hybrid war strategy.

So yeah, it's Russia.
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:27 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Olmstead View Post
Yeah, this is a weird one. No one has any real reason to target it.

Pressure build-up due to incompetence and the distractions of war? I don't know whether that's possible.
The Danish prime minister says that an accident is unlikely, as there were several explosions in different places. One of them blew up NordStream 2, which doesn't have any gas running through it.
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:29 AM   #8
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See, I can almost believe that because the Russian state is incompetent, but this is literally their leverage. Why would they want to remove that? It's like shooting your hostages for no reason when you still need them to escape.
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:34 AM   #9
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It's not any leverage at all.

Europe has already decided to stop importing gas from Russia. It will be done over time, as right now there is no alternative. But already by this year, the aim is to reduce Russian imported gas by 75%.

I don't think Russia has much to gain by letting Europe slowly wean themselves off Russian gas.

They have much more to gain by sending Europe into an energy crisis and soaring energy costs as winter is approaching.
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:34 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ryokan View Post
The obvious culprit is of course Russia. This is not an easy task to do. It would require a submarine, IMO.

This way they can say that they wanted to still supply Europe with gas, but someone else blew up the pipeline. Don't look at us. What can you do?

Now they get to strangle Europe's gas supply as well as plausible deniability that it's their fault.

The surge of energy prices in Europe has the very real possibility of destabilizing Europe. Populist parties with simple solutions are gaining support.

It's also a classic example of the Russian hybrid war strategy.

So yeah, it's Russia.
So both Nordstream pipelines are hit. Two breaks in Nordstream I and one break in Nordstream II.

At least one of the breaks on Nordstream II is in a place where the water is only 70 meters with the pipe on the surface of the seabed. That's a pretty technical diving depth, but would not require a sub.
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:35 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ryokan View Post
The obvious culprit is of course Russia. This is not an easy task to do. It would require a submarine, IMO.

This way they can say that they wanted to still supply Europe with gas, but someone else blew up the pipeline. Don't look at us. What can you do?

Now they get to strangle Europe's gas supply as well as plausible deniability that it's their fault.

The surge of energy prices in Europe has the very real possibility of destabilizing Europe. Populist parties with simple solutions are gaining support.

It's also a classic example of the Russian hybrid war strategy.

So yeah, it's Russia.
But why blow it up where we know very few countries could blow it up - probably less than a handful? Seems they could have bombed an onshore facility for the same effect and for the same propaganda reasons but be able to then control the situation.
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:41 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
But why blow it up where we know very few countries could blow it up - probably less than a handful? Seems they could have bombed an onshore facility for the same effect and for the same propaganda reasons but be able to then control the situation.
At this point, I'm beginning to wonder whether anyone can explain why Russia does the things it does.
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:46 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Stellafane View Post
At this point, I'm beginning to wonder whether anyone can explain why Russia does the things it does.
This. Russia can't gain by burning this bridge. It's like showing commitment to a planned isolationism or something. Didn't that already fail spectacularly?

Or Putin is just nuts.
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:49 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Two underwater gas leaks have been spotted bubbling up to the surface of the Baltic Sea by the Danish Military, near Bornholm island (which has a military base). Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederickson, says it is hard to believe it is accidental.

The Swedish seismology wing of the military now say there were two definite blasts in the region, as measured by their devices.

GUARDIAN

Shipping is being diverted and there is a no-fly zone over the area.

It is a set back for the planned Nord Stream pipelines to Norway and Poland.


It is not known if there is any connection to the Ukraine war or the fact of the Russian military base Kaliningrad, nearby. There have been naval exercises in the area, associated with NATO.
Well that's not good.
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:50 AM   #15
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My understanding was that neither of the pipelines was currently in active use, though damage will of course affect future possible supplies (though only for Nord Stream 1; Nord Stream 2 had been effectively abandoned already).

Quote:
Nord Stream AG, the pipeline operator, had on Monday morning reported an unexpected overnight drop of pressure from 105 to 7 bar in Nord Stream 2, which is filled with gas but was cancelled by Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A further drop of pressure was reported on Monday afternoon in Nord Stream 1, which Russia shut down indefinitely at the start of September, initially saying it needed repairs.
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:51 AM   #16
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Wouldn't blowing stuff up with a submarine in Danish waters count as an act of war?
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:51 AM   #17
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We don't know whether it is 'political' yet. A blast could still have a natural cause, especially where methane is involved. AIUI the pipes belong to Russia.

A couple of visuals: Reuters picture of the gas bubbles and BBC graphic of the region.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg gas leak bornholm.jpg (44.7 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg FdpSPXwXoAANB-p.jpg (52.6 KB, 10 views)
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Old 27th September 2022, 07:56 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
My understanding was that neither of the pipelines was currently in active use, though damage will of course affect future possible supplies (though only for Nord Stream 1; Nord Stream 2 had been effectively abandoned already).
Yes, Russia has been strangling supply by doing "maintenance" and "missing vital parts".

They're already supplying Europe with a lot less than before and a lot less than asked for. Russia has nothing to lose by cutting off supply completely, but if they can do it with plausible deniability, then so much better.
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Old 27th September 2022, 08:00 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
We don't know whether it is 'political' yet. A blast could still have a natural cause, especially where methane is involved. AIUI the pipes belong to Russia.

A couple of visuals: Reuters picture of the gas bubbles and BBC graphic of the region.
AFAIK Nordstream 1 belongs to Nordstream AG which is headquartered in Zug Switzerland.

Nordstream AG is majority owned by Gazprom with various minority Western European shareholders.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nord_Stream_AG
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Old 27th September 2022, 08:01 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
We don't know whether it is 'political' yet. A blast could still have a natural cause, especially where methane is involved. AIUI the pipes belong to Russia.

A couple of visuals: Reuters picture of the gas bubbles and BBC graphic of the region.
One blast - maybe. But there were three blasts targeting two pipelines. That seems very, very sketchy.

I would say the potential cause is still pretty open - the waters are shallow enough for divers to access the pipes. No subs required, although a boat/ship supporting the divers would be required and would be pretty visible.
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Old 27th September 2022, 08:06 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
AFAIK Nordstream 1 belongs to Nordstream AG which is headquartered in Zug Switzerland.

Nordstream AG is majority owned by Gazprom with various minority Western European shareholders.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nord_Stream_AG
And Nord Stream 2 AG, which operated Nord Stream 2, has folded.
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Old 27th September 2022, 08:08 AM   #22
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This guy here, H I Sutton is a marine expert and his analysis of marine situations, especially the war time stuff re Ukraine is well worth following. In this thread here, her analyses possible means of sabotage, if that is what it is:

Quote:
H I Sutton
@CovertShores
·
1h
Replying to
@CovertShores
1. Circumstances
The leak is near the Danish island of Bornholm, at 54.8762°, 15.4099° in ~70 meters of water. This would be divable

2 things do make it suspicious:
a) It is just over 12 nautical miles from the Island in International waters
b) the EEZ here is disputed here (?)
https://twitter.com/CovertShores/sta...JE62qiXTeY9a5Q


It all seems unlikely, or at least an extremely expensive sabotage.
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Old 27th September 2022, 08:09 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Ryokan View Post
Y
They're already supplying Europe with a lot less than before and a lot less than asked for. Russia has nothing to lose by cutting off supply completely, but if they can do it with plausible deniability, then so much better.
They lose the ability to re-establish an important income stream.

This could be viewed as Russia/Putin adopting a long term commitment to war but I think that's a bit too speculative at this point.
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Old 27th September 2022, 08:13 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
They lose the ability to re-establish an important income stream.
No. There will be no more re-establishing this. Europe is finding alternatives and weaning themselves off Russian gas. We're moving towards buying no gas from them anyway, and Russia knows this.

So it's either stop using Russian gas when alternatives are in place, or stop using it when it's still desperately needed.
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Old 27th September 2022, 08:16 AM   #25
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That takes decades though.
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Old 27th September 2022, 08:17 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Olmstead View Post
Wouldn't blowing stuff up with a submarine in Danish waters count as an act of war?
Only if the Danes want to see it that way. I mean, yes, such things are generally seen that way, and we can certainly choose to see it that way if we want. But I wouldn't really consider it an act of war unless someone actually goes to war over it.
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Old 27th September 2022, 08:21 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
That takes decades though.
I don't think it would.

And I think Russia has more to gain be destabilizing Europe this year, than selling less and less gas to Europe each year.

If they want to make money on selling gas to Europe, strangling the supply by making up excuses of maintenance and missing parts as they have done is a strange thing to do.

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Old 27th September 2022, 08:24 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Ryokan View Post
I don't think it would.
Yeah, on second thought, I've reread that article and think it makes a convincing case that it can happen faster.
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Old 27th September 2022, 08:36 AM   #29
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It seems to me that there are two possibilities.

(1) It was Russian sabotage, even though it's idiotic as it's of no possible benefit to Russia.
(2) It arose from an extraordinary level of Russian incompetence.

I'm having trouble working out which one is more plausible.

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Old 27th September 2022, 08:39 AM   #30
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It seems to coincide with various recent events, such as Denmark and Poland having a ceremony opening the 'Baltic Pipe'.

Quote:
Anders Puck Nielsen, a researcher with the Centre for Maritime Operations at the Royal Danish Defence College, said the timing of the leaks was “conspicuous” given the ceremony for the Baltic Pipe.

“The arrow points in the direction of Russia,” he said. “No one in the West is interested in having any kind of instability in the energy market.”

The extent of the damage means the Nord Stream pipelines are unlikely to carry any gas to Europe this winter even if there was political will to bring them online, analysts at the Eurasia Group said.

“Depending on the scale of the damage, the leaks could even mean a permanent closure of both lines,” Henning Gloystein and Jason Bush wrote.

They noted that undersea pipelines are designed so they can not be damaged accidentally and leaks are rare.
I.E.

A motive for Russia could be to push up energy prices even further...? Currently €1,900 per unit of gas. Most Europeans are seeing their energy bills double to quadruple over the coming couple of years, some governments nationalising the providers, others offering heavy subsistence to householders, others, in the form of a loan. This could be Russia's own version of sanctions against us in revenge for ours against them.

My take? I see FSB Russian intelligence operations all over this. The politicians won't necessarily be aware their military intelligence arm did this (Yeltsin never knew what the KGB were up to). So, whilst Putin and his government will have economic considerations, the FSB will be thinking about war strategy. It will have sent down military divers to attach a mine or other explosive to the pipes at a particular point. These will be divers able to move at stealth and avoid the sonar 'listeners' underwater. There is such heavy traffic along the Baltic, anyway. The divers will be trained to circumvent 70m deep waters. They would be in teams of three or four. They bombs would be meticulously executed to go off at a set time. One to the south of Bornholm was at 2:03 am and the other to the north east circa 7:00am. Possible the same team of divers who planted the first.
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Old 27th September 2022, 08:48 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
It seems to me that there are two possibilities.

(1) It was Russian sabotage, even though it's idiotic as it's of no possible benefit to Russia.
(2) It arose from an extraordinary level of Russian incompetence.

I'm having trouble working out which one is more plausible.

Dave
Sending a loud and clear message that Russia is not bluffing with causing European gas prices to quadruple, and are YOLOing NATO opposition to them?

Blowing your own down supply pipelines is a pretty clear way of saying "we are not kidding and we don't care if it cripples you"
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Old 27th September 2022, 09:07 AM   #32
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I'm having trouble seeing why they'd choose underwater sections. Why not organise 'accidental' explosions on dry land that will be much easier to repair one day?

Or just say "**** you, we're switching off".
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Old 27th September 2022, 09:13 AM   #33
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All the Putinistas are twitter are running an old video clip of Biden saying that "if Russia invades there will be no Nordstream pipeline." I think most of us understood that to mean that the project would be shut down (as it actually was), but now they are using to imply that the U.S. did it.

I'm leaning towards Russia. I don't understand how it benefits them, but they are insular enough to have internal reasoning we can't discern. And they have a history of destructive action in western Europe, such as poisoning dissidents in London. And they clearly have the technical ability, enough to serve it up in different flavors. And the Russian government can be spiteful, enough to blow it up just because they can't make use of it.

It seems far less likely but I would (at this point) still not rule out some sort of 3rd-party anti-Russian terrorism. If this could be done by divers, then it's not inconceivable that a small group of people could organize this. Ukrainians in exile, Polish or Baltic people who sympathize with Ukraine and also fear/hate Russia. Plenty of skilled technical divers from the oil and gas rigs in the North Sea. Build a limpet mine on a timer. Stick it on. Leave. It blows up the next day or so when you are far away. It's not like anybody is going to notice a thing stuck to the pipe 70 meters below the surface, the timer could be set for a really pretty long time.
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Old 27th September 2022, 09:25 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by crescent View Post
All the Putinistas are twitter are running an old video clip of Biden saying that "if Russia invades there will be no Nordstream pipeline." I think most of us understood that to mean that the project would be shut down (as it actually was), but now they are using to imply that the U.S. did it.

I'm leaning towards Russia. I don't understand how it benefits them, but they are insular enough to have internal reasoning we can't discern. And they have a history of destructive action in western Europe, such as poisoning dissidents in London. And they clearly have the technical ability, enough to serve it up in different flavors. And the Russian government can be spiteful, enough to blow it up just because they can't make use of it.

It seems far less likely but I would (at this point) still not rule out some sort of 3rd-party anti-Russian terrorism. If this could be done by divers, then it's not inconceivable that a small group of people could organize this. Ukrainians in exile, Polish or Baltic people who sympathize with Ukraine and also fear/hate Russia. Plenty of skilled technical divers from the oil and gas rigs in the North Sea. Build a limpet mine on a timer. Stick it on. Leave. It blows up the next day or so when you are far away. It's not like anybody is going to notice a thing stuck to the pipe 70 meters below the surface, the timer could be set for a really pretty long time.

Thing is, the pipes are 11cm thick steel with a further 24cm thick steel reinforced concrete around that and each pipe weighing literally tonnes. You would need a more than a bit of dynamite. You would need specialist level expertise (military bomb experts). In addition, you'd need to know exactly where the pipes were. It would be semi-classified and wouldn't be on any google map. Seems to me the sheer level of expertise and know how to do this suggests to me that these were no amateur resistance fighters but a commando-style military operation planned in advance. Especially as it was done in international waters. This is methane gas so you would need to use an explosive that doesn't react adversely to that. Or maybe the hope was a massive fireball, which didn't happen. Who knows?

It may not necessarily have been the FSB, it could have been the CIA/MI6 in coordination with others. The ceremony opening the Baltic Pipe between Poland and Norway was marked by this occasion to send the Russians a '**** You Russian Gas Pipes!' message. I can quite see the Poles sending such a message.

The pipes belong to Russia so not sure if it would have cost Denmark or Sweden anything, other than the criminal investigation and repairs they now have to carry out to halt the gas leak.
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Old 27th September 2022, 09:34 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Thing is, the pipes are 11cm thick steel with a further 24cm thick steel reinforced concrete around that and each pipe weighing literally tonnes. You would need a more than a bit of dynamite. You would need specialist level expertise (military bomb experts).
Ok, it's not Russia.
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Old 27th September 2022, 09:36 AM   #36
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04.8.2022: US Navy Group around USS Kearsage passes Bornholm in eastern direction
24.9.2002: Group returns and passes Fehmarnbelt on its way home

[German articles, use auto-translate]

So there we have a potential culprit with opportunity, means and motive.

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Old 27th September 2022, 09:42 AM   #37
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The leaks are at these locations:

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Old 27th September 2022, 09:44 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Childlike Empress View Post
04.8.2022: US Navy Group around USS Kearsage passes Bornholm in eastern direction
24.9.2002: Group returns and passes Fehmarnbelt on its way home

[German articles, use auto-translate]

So there we have a potential culprit with opportunity, means and motive.
The motive presumably being based on some ridiculous conspiracy theory in which the US wants to prevent another country from getting gas that the Russians refuse to supply?
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Old 27th September 2022, 09:49 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Childlike Empress View Post
04.8.2022: US Navy Group around USS Kearsage passes Bornholm in eastern direction
24.9.2002: Group returns and passes Fehmarnbelt on its way home


[German articles, use auto-translate]

So there we have a potential culprit with opportunity, means and motive.

If the US Navy had wanted to do it, they would have used a submarine. Fail.
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Old 27th September 2022, 09:54 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
If the US Navy had wanted to do it, they would have used a submarine. Fail.
There's almost certainly a submarine tagging along with the Group.

And the Kearsarge itself could have embarked combat divers or underwater demolitions teams or whatever the correct unit and terminology is.

But I cannot figure out what the motive is supposed to be, for anyone. Honestly the thing that makes the most sense to me is an insurance scam. But even that doesn't make much sense.
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