Why no one cares about Nord Stream’s sabotage

Nord Stream, Russian Prosecutor, General Igor Krasnov

If one browses through most Western media portals, the 2022 Nord Stream explosion, one will note, has been pretty much off-the radar for the last four weeks. Breaking the relative silence on the issue, Russian Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov claimed this week that Russia’s own investigation on the matter is “making progress”. In an interview with Kommersant, he said: “At present, a forensic explosives examination and other investigative actions are being conducted in order to establish the cause of the pipeline’s damage, precise locations and power of the blasts and other details… It’s a terror attack, not a sabotage act as the West is trying to portray it.”

If one reads the Russian Prosecutors’ above statement in the same mood Western media usually would have one reading it, one’s typical response would perhaps be something like: “oh, here is some more predictable Russian propaganda. Oh, yeah, they are going to say the US and the West did it, blah blah blah.”

Well, one may recall that in December 2023, a joint Washington Post/Der Spiegel investigation reported that a certain Roman Chervinsky, an Ukrainian special forces commander, might have played a key role coordinating the Nord Stream pipelines sabotage. The report states that the clandestine operation “was designed to keep Zelensky out of the loop”, with all involved reporting “directly to [chief of defense] Zaluzhnyy, so Zelensky wouldn’t have known about it.” It adds that “U.S. officials have at times privately chastised Ukrainian intelligence and military officials for launching attacks that risked provoking Russia to escalate its war on Ukraine. But Washington’s unease has not always dissuaded Kyiv.” On this particular topic, I myself have written on the 2023 leaked US documents showing Ukrainian (and Zelensky) plans to invade Russian villages, attacking Russian forces in Syria, and so on, which would have escalated and spread the conflict beyond the boundaries deemed acceptable by Washington.

This is not the only version in circulation about Nord Stream, though. Former Polish foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski in fact posted a photograph of the gas leak on his X (formerly Twitter) account saying “Thank you, USA.” As I wrote, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, quoting unnamed intelligence sources, has reported the operation was carried out by Washington, and US President Joe Biden had promised, on February 7, 2022: “If Russia invades… there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.” This was a serious promise.

One may recall that from August 29 to September 14, 2022 (12 days before the explosion), US Navy Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) participated in maneuvering exercises with NATO allied ships in the Baltic Sea,  also involving scientists, and divers. The exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS 22) could provide ample cover opportunity to clandestinely plant explosive devices in the Nord Stream area, which fits well into Seymour Hersh whistleblower report. Coincidentally or not, the area was in fact quite busy, military-wise that month. From September 9 to September 23 (just 3 days before the incident), NATO exercises Northern Coasts-2022 also took place there, very close to two explosion sites.

Already in 2021, the Russian Vzglyad newspaper reported that “Nord Stream 2 requires military protection”, voicing concerns about future Western sabotage involving remotely-detonated mine destroyer devices, specifically. After all, in 2015, a NATO mine destroyer was found at Nord Stream 1. Gas transportation was temporarily halted because of this.

No one denies the 2022 explosions were foul play. Biden is on record saying it was a “deliberate act of sabotage”, while denying the US had anything to do with it.

On September 26, 2022, several underwater explosions caused gas leaks on both Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 (the pipelines that used to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany). Russia is obviously an interested party in the episode, most of the pipes being owned by Russia energy company Gazprom, which is mostly state-owned. German as well as Denmark and Sweden started investigations (the explosions occurred within their economic zones, although in international waters). All such investigations concluded the deed was an act of intentional sabotage, but without identifying perpetrators.

In February Denmark announced it was closing its investigation (although its probe found sabotage), and that “there is no necessary basis for pursuing criminal proceedings in Denmark”. Sweden (now a NATO member) did the same earlier the same month, claiming jurisdiction reasons and passing it to Berlin.

The aforementioned Russian Prosecutor Krasnov has this to say on the matter: “The decision made by these countries (Germany, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland and Sweden) to reject our cooperation offer proves that no real investigation has in fact taken place. The fear of publishing the names of those responsible – whose trail undoubtedly leads overseas – is stronger than their own national interests.” It does make anyone scratch their heads, doesn’t it?

Michael Reed, Pipeline & Gas Journal’s Editor-in-Chief wrote this week that over two years after the “attack”, no answers have been publicized. Initially, “it was largely believed” (in the West) that Moscow could be behind it, to blame Ukraine. This does not make sense because the “price”, he argues, would have been too high: “what we are talking about here involves destroying decades of work, $20 billion worth of infrastructure and what amounts to a construction and engineering masterpiece.”

Although there were no casualties, it would be hard indeed to describe such sabotage as anything else as a terrorist act, with severe economic consequences to Europe (and also Britain) that are felt to this very day. They do happen to benefit American interests, though. I’ve been writing on how Washington had been heavily campaigning against Nord Stream 2 and overall German-Russian energy cooperation before 2022.

Sayeed Ahmed, a consulting engineer and the CEO of Bayside Analytix, recently asked whether “no one cares” about what happened to Nord Stream, considering the lack of political discussions on the issue. Considering how much European powers are entangled in NATO structures, the consequences of any such investigation could undermine the very foundations of the current transatlantic partnership. It would not be politically convenient for European top officials to publicly acknowledge that their American ally might in fact be, all things considered, Europe’s sabotage.


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