On 28 March 2023, the UN Security Council (UNSC) rejected Russia’s draft resolution to set up an independent body to investigate who was behind the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines in September 2022, as only Brazil, China and Russia voted in favor out of the 15 UNSC members. Germany, Denmark, and Sweden have refused to conduct a joint investigation with Russia. In October 2022 the three countries each announced their own forensic inquiry. Swedish authorities recently announced that a state actor was most probably behind the attacks. Seymour Hersch, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, revealed that Joe Biden ordered the destruction of the pipelines.
Atıl Tuna Yalçın, 27 April 2023
The Nord Stream pipelines at their peak supplied 40% of Europe’s gas imports. It was one of the main drivers of the Russian economy, used to deliver one third of Russian gas exports.
Since 1 September 2022, Russia halted all gas exports through Nord Stream 1, stating that it needed maintenance. In reality this was an attempt to break up the united front in Germany against Russia. Nord Stream 2 never went into full operation and was discontinued by Germany following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Nord Stream 2 would have vastly increased Germany’s reliance on Russian gas.
On 26 September 2022, explosions destroyed both pipelines of Nord Stream 1 and one pipeline of Nord Stream 2. There were no immediate economic effects of the attack, as the pipelines were not operational. The blasts had only a minor immediate effect, briefly causing gas prices to soar in Europe. While the prices have since decreased, they are still significantly above pre-sanction prices of gas imports from Russia.
Since their launch, the Nord Stream 1 (2011) and 2 (2015) pipelines were always seen as a threat by the US, as they significantly increased Russia’s leverage vis-à-vis Europe. Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, at a press conference on 7 February 2022, when asked what the US would do regarding Nord Stream if Russia attacked Ukraine, Biden replied “We will bring an end to it”.
Official western sources have concluded that very few states (specifically the US and UK) had the capabilities and motive to carry out the complex operation to blast the Nord Stream pipelines underwater.
Swedish authorities recently announced their findings, namely, that a state actor was the most probable actor behind the attacks. Russia and China insist that the US was behind the attack.
The Western media reports are divided as to who the perpetrators may be: various reports point to the involvement of pro-Ukrainian groups, while others postulate the possibility of a false-flag operation carried out by Russia or the US/allies.
Identification of the perpetrator(s) is important especially because of the issue of compensation for undelivered gas which will amount to billions of euros. Gazprom’s force majeure defense against claims filed by Uniper, RWE and Engie will be stronger if Russia is exonerated as the culprit behind the pipeline attacks.
Several German mainstream media including the newspaper Die Zeit have pointed to a false-flag operation, implying it was carried out by Russia. One possible motivation behind the sabotage was to put an end to internal disputes in Russia with the hard-liners, who did not want Nord Stream 1 to be shut down in the first place. The German Defence minister, Boris Pistorius, stated earlier in March that Putin wanted to divert attention from the war and rally people around the ‘victim-narrative’. Later, Die Zeit claimed that the identities of those who carried out the attack were unknown except for two Ukrainian nationals among the six people who used forged passports to rent a yacht from a Polish firm in connection with laying explosives at the pipeline.
Seymour Hersh, an independent, renowned investigative journalist, and Pulitzer Prize winner, who first revealed the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal, reported a detailed process of how the attack was carried out. This process involved the cooperation between the Norwegian navy and the US, which carefully prepared for the attack by planting underwater bombs during the annual BALTOPS NATO exercise which were detonated a few months later. He wholly discredits the theories in the German media and the New York Times. He reveals that the attack was carried out by a direct order of Biden, and carefully planned with the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. Hersch relies on undisclosed military sources (https://seymourhersh.substack.com/p/how-america-took-out-the-nord-stream).
On 28 March 2023, the UNSC rejected Russia’s draft resolution for the UNSC to set up an independent body to investigate who was behind the Nord Stream 1 attack in September 2022, as only Brazil, China and Russia voted in favor out of the 15 UNSC members.
Following the vote, the deputy US Ambassador to the UN stated: “The US categorically refutes Russia’s unfounded allegations levelled against us in relation to this act of sabotage. Russia’s draft resolution was an attempt to discredit the work of ongoing national investigations.”
Owing to US and UN sanctions against Russia, Europe has been pressured to reduce significantly if not eliminate its dependence on Russian oil and gas, which provided Europe with cheap and reliable energy. Europe’s efforts to wean itself off Russian energy exports and use alternative sources of energy have had major political, economic, environmental, and financial costs.
The US has profited greatly from the sale of the far-more expensive and environmentally damaging US LNG obtained through fracking. Germany on the other hand, has had to and continues to build new “floating” LNG terminals, which are not only very expensive but also controversial and detrimental to the environment.
German insurance companies recently announced their readiness to finance the repair of the damaged Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Yet there is no political will to repair it.