Russian navy vessel was seen near Nord Stream pipelines four days before they were blown up
A Russian navy vessel specialised in submarine operations was photographed near the sabotaged Nord Stream gas pipelines just prior to mysterious blasts in September, Danish daily Information said Friday.
The newspaper said the submarine rescue ship SS-750 was photographed in the Baltic Sea four days before the still-unexplained explosions on the pipelines that link Russia to Germany.
The SS-750 has its own mini-submarine, called the AS-26, which can reach depths of 262 feet (80 metres) and carry loads of up to 50kg.
‘The Danish military confirmed that 26 photos of the Russian vessel were taken from a Danish patrol boat in the zone located east of Bornholm on September 22, 2022,’ Information said.
The Danish military has not responded to a request for comment.
The newspaper said the submarine rescue ship SS-750 (file image) was photographed in the Baltic Sea four days before the still-unexplained explosions on the pipelines that link Russia to Germany
In this file photo taken on September 27, 2022 this handout picture released by the Danish Defence Command shows the gas leak at the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline
Seven months after the spectacular blasts on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, it has yet to be established who was responsible despite criminal investigations in the countries bordering the damaged part of the pipelines – Germany, Sweden and Denmark.
The New York Times reported in March that US officials had seen new intelligence indicating that a ‘pro-Ukrainian group’ was responsible, without the involvement of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
German prosecutors subsequently said that, in January, investigators had searched a ship suspected of having transported explosives used in the blasts.
The prosecutor leading Sweden’s probe said in March it was ‘still unclear’ who was behind the sabotage, calling it ‘a complex case’.
‘Our primary assumption is that a state is behind it,’ Mats Ljungqvist said.
‘The people who did this have probably been aware that they would leave clues behind and probably took care so that the evidence would not point in one direction, but in several directions,’ he added.
A former Danish intelligence officer turned analyst, Jacob Kaarsbo, told Information that the presence of the SS-750 in the zone ‘sheds light on what was going on in the region in the preceding days.’
The confirmation was of particular interest ‘because we know it is capable of carrying out such an operation,’ he said.
Earlier this month, it was claimed that Russia is using ‘ghost’ spy ships that are disguised as fishing trawlers off the UK coast to map out wind farms and communication cables for sabotage attacks in case it goes to war with the West.
The fleet of Russian ships, disguised as fishing trawlers and research vessels, are reportedly sailing through the North Sea to collect data on where wind farms, gas pipelines as well as power and internet cables are located.
The vessels carry underwater surveillance to map out how the infrastructure is connected with the aim to plan sabotage attacks against the West, a documentary aired by public broadcasters in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland has claimed.
Russia is aiming to plan the sabotage attacks in case it goes to war with the West, with their goal being to paralyse the power supply in Europe, intelligence sources warned.
‘In the event of a conflict with the West, they are ready and know where to intervene if they want to paralyse the Danish society,’ counterintelligence chief Anders Henriksen from the Danish Police Intelligence Service told Denmark’s DR.
‘This is a strategic capacity for Russia, which is considered very important and is controlled directly from Moscow,’ Nils Andreas Stensones, head of the Norwegian Intelligence Service, added.
Intercepted radio communications from the Russian navy reveal Russia is using ‘ghost ships’ in the North Sea. These vessels have turned off their transmitters and are therefore untraceable in international waters.
Russia is using ‘ghost’ spy ships that are disguised as fishing trawlers off the UK coast to map out wind farms and communication cables for sabotage attacks in case it goes to war with the West, a probe has claimed. Last November, Admiral Vladimirsky (pictured) sailed around the Kattegat sea between Denmark and Sweden without sharing its location for a month
Video shows a man wearing a mask while holding a Russian military semi-automatic rifle stepping forward on the top deck as a DR journalist approached the Admiral Vladimirsky in a rubber boat. Several other men stepped forward also
The Kremlin on Wednesday dismissed the media claims as a ‘mistake’ and ‘without basis’, reiterating its appeal for ‘a transparent and impartial international inquiry’ into the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines in September 2022.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson meanwhile deemed the documentary’s claims ‘serious’.
‘This just goes to show that we have a very risky situation in our immediate vicinity,’ he told reporters at a navy base in southern Sweden.
Broadcasters DR in Denmark, NRK in Norway, SVT in Sweden and Yle in Finland pointed to how the Russian naval vessel Admiral Vladimirsky is being used to collect intelligence – rather than conduct oceanic research as Russia says it does.