It is incredible that the pipelines bringing Russian gas into Europe were blown up right in the middle of the Russia-Ukraine war and we still don’t know who did it and how. Early last month, an octogenarian Pulitzer winning American investigative journalist named Seymour Hersh wrote a rather elaborate piece on how America was responsible for the blow up with help from the Norwegians. Western media was quick to debunk the claim citing lack of evidence. In this piece, The Economist explores possibilities:
“Some European officials initially believed the attack might have been organised by Russia, which was escalating its war in Ukraine and its energy battle with Europe at the time. Its Baltic fleet, which could deploy divers or mini submarines, is based in Kaliningrad, 300km from the targets. The attack took place one day before Poland completed a new pipeline to import Norwegian gas via Denmark, designed to reduce its long-standing reliance on Russia. On October 12th, two weeks after the attack, Mr Putin warned that the world’s energy infrastructure was “at risk”.
Russia, meanwhile, pointed the finger at America. President Joe Biden had repeatedly warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would “bring an end” to Nord Stream 2, which America had long opposed. In February this year Seymour Hersh, an American investigative journalist, claimed on the basis of a single, anonymous source that American Navy divers had planted explosives on the pipelines. American officials denied the claim. And Mr Hersh’s story was littered with errors of fact and logic.
Neither country would appear to have a clear motive for the attacks. By damaging its own infrastructure, Russia would deprive itself of future leverage over energy-starved Europe. An American attack would risk antagonising European allies, especially Germany. And Mr Biden has generally adopted a cautious approach to the conflict.”
Recent reports seem to blame a Ukrainian renegade group:
“A Ukrainian motive is plausible, though hardly decisive. The country had long seen the Nord Stream pipelines as a national-security risk that increased Europe’s dependence on Russia and deprived Ukraine of transit fees it could charge Gazprom for overland pipelines. And a recent increase in Ukraine-linked sabotage activities, including attacks on airfields in Russia and Belarus, suggests an emphasis on unconventional warfare. Indeed, some have speculated that the Americans may have decided to brief their intelligence now as a warning to Ukraine not to escalate further.”
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