In a recent investigative documentary, it was revealed that Russian ships capable of conducting underwater operations were present near the site of the explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines. The documentary states that these vessels were identified through intercepted Russian navy communications.
Last September, underwater explosions put the two Nord Stream pipelines, designed to transport gas from Russia to Europe, out of commission. The cause of the blasts remains unknown.
Official investigations continue in countries close to the explosion site, but so far, they have only determined that the explosions were likely sabotage rather than an accident.
One possible lead suggesting Russian involvement stems from the suspicious movements of Russian ships leading up to the Nord Stream explosions. This information was reported by four Nordic public broadcasters and the accompanying English-language podcast Cold Front.
Denmark’s Defence Command has also confirmed a separate report that a Danish patrol boat, Nymfen, took 26 photos of a Russian submarine-rescue ship in the area just days before the explosions. The Information website stated that the SS-750 sailed from Kaliningrad and was near Bornholm island on September 22, 2022.
The investigation, conducted by Denmark’s DR, Norway’s NRK, Sweden’s SVT, and Finland’s Yle, focuses on the unusual movements and actions of ships between June and September of last year. These ships are believed to include the Russian naval research vessel Sibiryakov, the tugboat SB-123, and a third unidentified ship from the Russian naval fleet.
These “ghost-ships” had their transmitters turned off, but the broadcasters claim they were able to track their movements using intercepted radio communications sent to Russian naval bases.
The first vessel left a Russian naval base in Kaliningrad and arrived near the pipeline on June 7. One radio message places it directly above Nord Stream 2 before moving further north, close to the Nord Stream 1 pipelines. It spent hours in the area where the pipeline runs about 80 meters (260 feet) below the surface and where some leaks would later occur.
The Sibiryakov arrived on June 14 and went to the same position as the first vessel, near the Nord Stream pipelines, and remained there until the next day.
The movements were tracked by a former British naval intelligence officer, who worked on intercepting the Russian Baltic Fleet until his retirement in 2018. The anonymous officer says he used open-source information and radio communications to conduct his research.
He states that the pattern of radio communications in June indicated that they were in an “operational phase” at some points.
The tugboat, SB-123, sailed to the area on the evening of September 21. The broadcasters claim they intercepted communications suggesting it was operating close to the pipelines and the explosion areas from late that evening until around 14:00 on September 22.
The tugboat is also mentioned in the Information story about the SS-750 submarine-rescue ship, which followed up on a German report in March of suspected Russian involvement in the area.
Satellite imagery examined by the broadcasters is said to support the claims about the unusual routes, and other reports in Germany had claimed it was in the area on September 21-22.
The Sibiryakov is believed to be capable of underwater surveillance and mapping, as well as launching a small underwater vehicle. It can support and rescue submarines and has the ability to carry out operations on the seabed, according to experts interviewed by the broadcasters.
Russian ships able to perform underwater operations were present near to where explosions later took place on the Nord Stream pipelines, according to an investigative documentary.
The vessels were reportedly located using intercepted Russian navy communications.
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