Baltic Pipeline Discussion (Current Events)

Mendel

Senior Member.
yes. the message is, if you lift the sanctions we send gas again
evidence:
As of September 2022, Russia had cut gas deliveries to several European countries -- for example Poland, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Finland -- citing a failure to comply with rouble payments in each case. In May, the EU softened its stance on gas trading restrictions, leading several key customers to ultimately cave in to Russian demands and pay in roubles to keep supply stable in the short run.


Russia has already concluded that it's energy cooperation with Europe is over.
counter-evidence:
Russian gas producer Gazprom (GAZP.MM) said its supply of gas to Europe through Ukraine via the Sudzha entry point was 41.8 mcm on Monday versus 41.7 mcm on Sunday.
 
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evidence:
As of September 2022, Russia had cut gas deliveries to several European countries -- for example Poland, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Finland -- citing a failure to comply with rouble payments in each case. In May, the EU softened its stance on gas trading restrictions, leading several key customers to ultimately cave in to Russian demands and pay in roubles to keep supply stable in the short run.

Yes. Evidence of Russian extortion through energy after EU decided to call out Russian atrocities and impose sanctions.

counter-evidence:
Russian gas producer Gazprom (GAZP.MM) said its supply of gas to Europe through Ukraine via the Sudzha entry point was 41.8 mcm on Monday versus 41.7 mcm on Sunday.

No contradiction to the fact that Russia can sabotage, and has sabotaged, its own pipelines. That some Eastern European countries still choose to rely on Russian gas doesn't affect the main points made in the least.

P.S. You're correct about Kharkiv. My bad. My own word confusion to mention Kherson. I've amended the post.
 
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Mendel from your source you linked to
Economy minister Robert Habeck said that gas supplies from Russia "no longer play a role in my security considerations" and that Germany could not rely on Russia. "The only thing that is reliable from Russia is the lie," he said.
I'm sure you agree this has been proven time and time again, Hell the whole thing kicked off with a lie along the lines "USA is lying by saying we (russia) are going to invade Ukraine, We have no intention to do this" Only for Russia to shortly afterwards invade Ukraine :D

Sure you can believe them if they claim they will restart gas if the sanctions are dropped but I'm sure most european governments are more circumspect based on Russias proven track record
 
Mendel from your source you linked to

I'm sure you agree this has been proven time and time again, Hell the whole thing kicked off with a lie along the lines "USA is lying by saying we (russia) are going to invade Ukraine, We have no intention to do this" Only for Russia to shortly afterwards invade Ukraine :D

Amen.

Sure you can believe them if they claim they will restart gas if the sanctions are dropped but I'm sure most european governments are more circumspect based on Russias proven track record

I have no doubt Russia is willing to fix the pipelines or use others in the unlikely event the European governments who currently don't want to rely on Russian gas would entertain second thoughts at some future juncture.

Sergey Vakulenko in Carnegie Politka:

In theory, Russia still has the physical capacity to increase gas supplies to Europe. It could accomplish that by relying on another non-commissioned line of Nord Stream 2 that was spared the explosion (though there are reports that this last line might also have been damaged after all), or the Yamal-Europe pipeline. Together they have a capacity of 60 billion cubic meters per annum, or 40 percent of the pre-war supply volumes. However, with the Yamal-Europe pipeline controlled by Poland, a resolute ally of Ukraine, and Nord Stream 2 having yet to be launched, pulling any of this off would be a lot more difficult than simply switching back on the turbines on Nord Stream 1.


Kristine Berzina, a senior fellow for security and defence at the German Marshall Fund on Russian interests in sabotaging their own pipelines:

"(Russia) can intimidate Europeans through an act of sabotage. Because if they're able to blow up these pipelines in the Baltic seabed, they could do that as well to the new pipeline," said Kristine Berzina, senior fellow for security and defence at the German Marshall Fund.


Scott Savitz, a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation, on the likelihood of Russia having sabotaged its own pipelines:

“They’re going to be doing a forensic investigation, presumably, trying to ascertain what caused” the damage to the pipelines, said Scott Savitz, senior engineer at the RAND Corporation.

The time needed to carry out the investigation depends on sea conditions and the human and machine resources needed and available to collect what Savitz said should be “incontrovertible” evidence.

“This is substantial, [the explosions] occurred in multiple locations, which will make it that much harder. Divers and specialized gear will need to be addressing multiple problems at once,” he said.

Savitz, who based his analysis on media reports, said the attack on the pipeline appeared to be “relatively straight forward,” with explosives placed near the pipe — an action that could be as simple as pushing mines off a ship or enlisting human divers or an uncrewed undersea vehicle.

“These are heavily trafficked waters in which a ship, pushing a heavy object, or multiple, over the side would not be terribly difficult and all it would need to have is a simple setting in that it detonates after a certain time period. That’s trivially easy. That’s technology from a century ago, if not more,” he said.

“Conceivably based on the evidence we’ve seen thus far, it’s not 100 percent the case that it was Russia, but it looks very probable.”


A British defence source on the improbability of US being behind the sabotage despite its capability:

A British defence source told Sky News the attack was probably premeditated and detonated from afar using underwater mines or other explosives.

"Something big caused those explosions which means ... Russia could do it. In theory, the United States could also do it but I don't really see the motivation there," Oliver Alexander, an open source intelligence analyst, told Reuters.

The United States had long called for Europe to end its reliance on Russian gas, he said, but Washington had little obvious motivation to act now because Nord Stream was no longer pumping gas to Europe at the time the leaks were found, although the pipelines had gas under pressure inside them.


The sabotage fitting Russia's hybrid warfare strategy:

Many Western officials and analysts said sabotage would fit neatly into Mr. Putin’s broader Russian strategy of waging war on multiple fronts, using economic and political tools, as well as arms, to undermine Ukraine’s allies and weaken their resolve and unity. It demonstrates to an already jittery Europe how vulnerable its vital infrastructure is, including other pipelines and undersea power and telecommunications cables.

“This is classic hybrid warfare,” said Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, head of the defense committee in Germany’s Parliament, who stressed that for now she had no evidence Russia was behind the attack but believed it was the most “plausible” culprit.

“Putin is going to use every hybrid measure at his disposal to fluster Europeans, from food to refugees to energy,” she said.


Rebekah Koffler, a former DIA intelligence officer and the president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting, lists five reasons why Russia is likely to have sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines. The second reason concerns SOPKVOP, a Russian war doctrine of defeating critical adversary infrastructure:

Second, damaging or destroying critical infrastructure is consistent with Russia’s warfighting concept called Strategic Operation to Defeat Critical Infrastructure of the Adversary (SOPKVOP, in Russian). Russian strategists spent decades conceptualizing ways to bypass the U.S. and NATO conventional superiority in a conflict they had concluded was inevitable because Moscow and Washington have been in confrontation over control of the post-Soviet space since the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

Intended for wartime, SOPKVOP operations also can be deployed during peacetime to "destabilize the opponent’s social and political situation" and dislodge the adversary psychologically to persuade him to abandon the fight. Russia’s targeting strategy prioritizes critical infrastructure. It has spent years studying Western vulnerabilities. SOPKVOP envisions prosecuting quasi-military campaigns by employing cyber operations and other non-kinetic methods.


Sergey Vakulenko in Carnegie Politka on Russian signalling through the sabotage and Russia's Gazprom potentially benefiting from the sabotage:

The attack may, however, have signaling value. If so, that does change the strategic landscape in the energy war. If perpetrated by Russia, the signaling value toward the West—which would certainly know Russia is behind the explosions—may be a threat to the rest of the marine energy infrastructure. Back in 2021, Putin told a gathering of military leaders: " If our Western colleagues continue the obviously aggressive stance, we will take appropriate retaliatory military-technical measures and react harshly to unfriendly steps. I want to emphasize that we have every right to do so." Was the Nord Stream attack a hint that similar mishaps might happen to some or all of the seven major pipelines delivering Norwegian gas to the UK and continental Europe? The explosions coincided with the inauguration of the Baltic Pipe taking Norwegian gas to Poland, so this is hardly an academic hypothesis.

One irony of the attack is that Russia’s Gazprom potentially stands to benefit: it will no longer need to invent excuses not to supply Europe via Nord Stream 1. Now it can claim a force majeure, which will dramatically reduce the risk of compensation claims for non-delivered volumes. This logic, however, does not explain the damage caused to Nord Stream 2. On the other hand, the Nord Stream consortium companies and eventually Gazprom might even hope to collect some insurance for the damaged pipelines. Given that they already looked set to become a stranded asset, that would be far from the worst outcome for the giant company.
 
(3) Sabotaging Russia's own pipelines is not a new tactic as demonstrated with the case of Georgia in 2006.

British Home Secretary Lord Palmerston on 22 May 1853 wrote insightfully and well-nigh prophetically on Russian MO. It's uncanny how in some things history repeats itself. This MO fits, among many other examples such as the Russian occupation of Crimea, the Georgian pipeline attacks in 2006 (on the Russian side of the border) which, while likely authored by the Kremlin, were blamed by Russia on Russian extremists:

"The policy and practice of the Russian Government has always been to push forward its encroachments as fast and as far as the apathy or want of firmness of other Governments would allow it to go, but always to stop and retire when it was met with decided resistance, and then to wait for the next favourable opportunity to make another spring on its intended victim. In furtherance of this policy, the Russian Government has always had two strings to its bow - moderate language and disinterested professions at Petersburg and at London; active aggression by its agents on the scene of the actions. If the aggressions succeed legally, the Petersburg Government adopts them as a 'fait accompli' which it did not intend, but cannot, in honour, recede from. If the local agents fail, they are disavowed and recalled, and the language previously held is appealed to as proof that the agents have overstepped their instructions."
 
Russias proven track record
track record IS 'we cut the gas, you pay in rubles, we send the gas again'
simple tactics, presumably based on the existing treaties even, Russia may not even be in the wrong, technically

you can't just go and claim the track record is otherwise, with no evidence

remember my remark is adressing the question why Russia would want to cut deliveries
Wabbit's claim was, "they don't like Europe any more and want to stop selling", my claim is "they want to blackmail Europe into easing the sanctions". You decide who has the better case.
 
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simple tactics, presumably based on the existing treaties even, Russia may not even be in the wrong, technically
my presumption was wrong
gas delivery contracts were payable in euro or USD
Putin changed this, so now Gazprombank in Luxemburg accepts Euro and converts it to Rubel (that was the plan in March) to send to Russia to comply with new Russian law
 
my presumption was wrong
gas delivery contracts were payable in euro or USD
Putin changed this, so now Gazprombank in Luxemburg accepts Euro and converts it to Rubel (that was the plan in March) to send to Russia to comply with new Russian law

Putin changed the contracts, but the west deliberately and specifically excluded Sberbank and Gazprombank from the SWIFT ban, which some might interpret as enabling Putin's countermove, but others might interpret as defanging it. It might take FOIA requests decades down the line to find out the real truth.

It's more a game of Rush Hour, than an actual block. At least destruction of a pipeline is like glueing a piece in an inconvenient place - a move that can't easily be reversed - but as has been pointed out, there are other pieces that can still move.
 
It's more a game of Rush Hour, than an actual block. At least destruction of a pipeline is like glueing a piece in an inconvenient place - a move that can't easily be reversed - but as has been pointed out, there are other pieces that can still move.
Download.jpeg.jpg

well, "40% of the pre-war volume" is a step back, while opening Nordstream 2 would've been a step forward for Russia.

Which leads me to speculate that Russia blew up NS1 to force Germany to open NS2, and the CIA got wind of it and blew up NS2. Even if it probably didn't happen that way, it'd make an exciting movie. ;)

The theories being advanced how Russia benefits from the destruction of the pipeline simply seem quite far-fetched to me. I'd rather have evidence than some rationalisation that starts with "Putin did it".
 
The theories being advanced how Russia benefits from the destruction of the pipeline simply seem quite far-fetched to me. I'd rather have evidence than some rationalisation that starts with "Putin did it".

Not quite so far-fetched for legit experts cited earlier whose credentials as well as reasoning outweigh your motivated thinking and niche cyber corner platform.
 
Washington had little obvious motivation to act now because Nord Stream was no longer pumping gas to Europe at the time
that is the motivation to act now. (ie environmental) is there some safety mechanism that would automatically turn off the pumps if you blew it with gas going through?
 
As I understand it, there are two scenarios for attacking the pipeline.
  1. An external depth charge, via plane, boat or submarine, which could be launched by anyone.
  2. A simple bomb placed onto the pipeline robots, which could only be launched from Russia or Germany.
Why is sabotage by Special Forces not a third scenario? If there was an underwater explosion, this sounds like limpet mines to me. They have the added advantage of having time fuses that would allow the saboteurs to be long gone by the time of the explosion(s). As DavidB66 pointed out earlier, if there was sabotage, not getting caught is paramount to the nation(s) responsible.
 
Why is sabotage by Special Forces not a third scenario? If there was an underwater explosion, this sounds like limpet mines to me. They have the added advantage of having time fuses that would allow the saboteurs to be long gone by the time of the explosion(s). As DavidB66 pointed out earlier, if there was sabotage, not getting caught is paramount to the nation(s) responsible.
I said, option one can be pulled off by anyone (external explosion), contrasted with option 2 that only be pulled off from Russia and Germany (internal explosion).

I perhaps see what you mean, external but not explosive, like divers with equipment? In that case, point taken. For me that is essentially Option 1 with more clarity.

[... but not sure how such divers would escape gas ...]
 
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I said, option one can be pulled off by anyone (external explosion), contrasted with option 2 that only be pulled off from Russia and Germany (internal explosion).
Ok, sorry. Since you specified "depth charge" I assumed you knew what it was.
 
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I said, option one can be pulled off by anyone (external explosion), contrasted with option 2 that only be pulled off from Russia and Germany (internal explosion).

I perhaps see what you mean, external but not explosive, like divers with equipment? In that case, point taken. For me that is essentially Option 1 with more clarity.

[... but not sure how such divers would escape gas ...]
What gas?
 
Divers who did not use explosives? Tried to cut through?

But I think your point is divers with timed explosives, which was a case I admit I missed, when distinguishing external from internal.
 
I don't recall anyone bringing up cutting the pipeline. It would make little tactical sense considering it takes longer, therefore exposing divers to a high probability of being detected. Better to place limpets and hightail it back to safety. And as you pointed out earlier, there is also the potential to exposure to leaking gas.

Unlike depth charges which are dropped and then detonated by a hydrostatic valve, limpet mines attach to whatever is to be destroyed and are set off by a time delay detonator. Very reliable, with a proven operational history going back to WW2. Italian naval commandos seriously damaged two RN battleships in harbor with limpets, for example.
 
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One other option for damaging the pipeline not yet mentioned would be for the operator to over- or under-pressurize it, which could cause it to fail. It's even possible that its operators ran it out of spec by accident while imposing the export stoppage.

Some more options for who could have intentionally damaged the pipeline: China or India, each of whom materially benefits from the fact that Russia is being forced to export to them its energy at a sharp discount. Other energy producers, including nation states, quasi-governmental entities, and private entities, also have a clear interest in higher energy prices globally and could have been motivated to sabotage the pipeline to prop up energy prices in general.

For now, there is no actual evidence of who damaged the pipeline or why, so I think there's not much use speculating. All we can do is acknowledge that we don't know and that the guesses being tossed around are largely a reflection of the guessers' priors. (The scenarios I outlined above were just to illustrate that there are many facially plausible scenarios; I'm not proposing that any of them is more likely than any other.)
 
Better to place limpets and hightail it back to safety.
My understanding is that limpet mines work by magnetically attaching to a metal structure, but the pipeline is coated with concrete at a thickness of 60 mm to 110 mm. Would it still be possible to attach limpets?
 
My understanding is that limpet mines work by magnetically attaching to a metal structure, but the pipeline is coated with concrete at a thickness of 60 mm to 110 mm. Would it still be possible to attach limpets?
Sure, if nothing else they could be strapped or tied in place onto something like a pipeline. I'm also pretty sure limpets were used in WW2 against wooden hulled ships like minesweepers, torpedo/gun boats, motor launches, etc.
 
I don't think it can be an internal explosion (on the robots), that would surely blow up the whole pipeline.
 
One other option for damaging the pipeline not yet mentioned would be for the operator to over- or under-pressurize it, which could cause it to fail. It's even possible that its operators ran it out of spec by accident while imposing the export stoppage.
Would Germany not have noticed this on their side of the pipelines?
 
One other option for damaging the pipeline not yet mentioned would be for the operator to over- or under-pressurize it, which could cause it to fail. It's even possible that its operators ran it out of spec by accident while imposing the export stoppage.
On the assumption it's under ~150m of water[*] it ought to be able to sustain ~14 atm nett inward pressure (at least at some time during deployment and/or maintenance). Evacuating the pipe would increase that to ~15 atm, which is basically the same number and should be well within engineering tolerances. Pipes are notoriously more resilient to nett outward pressure than inward pressure, so I don't believe it could be put in a state of overpressure to the point of damage without the other end having irrefutable evidence of that state. So I think the under-/over-pressure explanation is probably excluded.

Having said that, internal explosion might also suffers from the same "the other end would have evidence" weakness, as shock waves attenuate exponentially (which is slowly, in the downward direction) in enclosed tubes (energy losses are equal along the pipe, as a ratio of the carried energy), they act essentially like bores/solitons. Then again, it's a very long pipe (but Russia's a lot further away, so Germany would have a better chance of getting away with it). However, I'm thinking of gas blast waves there - if we can send robots into the tunnel to place shaped charges precisely onto the pipe itself, the wasted energy as shock waves will be dramatically lower, as the charge itself will be much smaller. Perhaps someone else can run the numbers

[* no idea if that's true, but the baltic goes deeper than that near the NS route:
iowtopo2.jpg
, however, this is just Fermi-ing the numbers, so it shouldn't matter much.]
 
[* no idea if that's true, but the baltic goes deeper than that near the NS route
but it's not that deep where it ruptured near Bornholm

nord-Stream-leaks-1.jpg

Russia’s Gazprom said on Monday (3 October) that gas had stopped leaking from three ruptured Nord Stream gas lines under the Baltic, and that it might be possible to resume pumping through the remaining single line.
 
but it's not that deep where it ruptured near Bornholm

View attachment 55048
Russia’s Gazprom said on Monday (3 October) that gas had stopped leaking from three ruptured Nord Stream gas lines under the Baltic, and that it might be possible to resume pumping through the remaining single line.

Do we know if the pipeline is of identical construction along its length? If it is, then that significantly decreases the likelyhood of both an under-pressure and an over-pressure "slow" break at that point, and therefore as the mechanism of failure. If it isn't, then that part still might be stronger than the deep parts given that its expected use case is nett outward pressure, and there's less outside pressure to balance that. Of course there might be other parameters I'm simply unaware of (does the small tidal flow in the Baltic play a part in the design, etc.).
 
We are likely to know more about the 'sabotage' soon as Sweden on Monday dispatched a diving vessel to investigate the leaks:

Swedish Diving Vessel.JPG


Former CIA Director John Brennan and former US senior intelligence officer Andrea Kendall-Taylor on Russia's reasons for sabotaging its own pipelines:

Russia watchers and intelligence experts say the ruptures were probably a product of Russian operations and designed to send a message to the West about Russia's still worrisome capabilities, while warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to order more acts of hybrid warfare as his forces struggle in Ukraine and Western countries continue to support Kyiv.

Former CIA Director John Brennan last Wednesday told CNN that Russia is the "most likely suspect" and the apparent sabotage was meant to "signal to Europe that Russia could reach beyond Ukraine's borders."

"This might be a sign that Russia is intent on doing whatever it believes it needs to do in order to weaken a European resolve," Brennan said, adding, "This just might be the first salvo of some additional things that might be coming toward Europe."

Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a former US senior intelligence officer who led strategic analysis on Russia for the National Intelligence Council from 2015 to 2018, told Insider she believes the leaks were a result of "intentional" sabotage "executed by Russia."

The pipelines, which were not operational when the ruptures occurred and have stopped leaking, are mostly owned by the Russian state-controlled energy company Gazprom. Russia's influence over Europe's energy supply has been a constant point of concern since the Ukraine war began in late February. The EU has been scrambling to find gas supplies for winter as it moves to curb its dependence on Russian energy. The pipeline ruptures caused already sky-high gas prices to go up, and also raised a number of environmental concerns.

Kendall-Taylor said that there were a number of motivations for Russia to carry out sabotage like this, with Moscow looking for an "immediate" way to "increase the pain directly on Europe."

There's also a "broader play, which is Russia signaling to the West that it has a whole suite of non-conventional tools that it can use to be disruptive and to increase the pain so long as the support for Ukraine continues," Kendall-Taylor said, describing these leaks as a "warning shot" from the Kremlin.

"It was a relatively inexpensive way to send a very informative signal to the West. Should we expect these things to continue? Absolutely," Kendall-Taylor added, underscoring that Russia's struggles on the battlefield in Ukraine are directly tied to this.
 
For now, there is no actual evidence of who damaged the pipeline or why, so I think there's not much use speculating. All we can do is acknowledge that we don't know and that the guesses being tossed around are largely a reflection of the guessers' priors.

That maybe true to anonymous MB guessers but not entirely accurate when it comes to competent intelligence analysts providing sound rationale for why Russia is the likeliest culprit. Does that mean these experts know the culprit with certainty? Of course not.

But to those who are tasked, as a profession or service duty, to understand the political and military context surrounding such events, to perform operational analysis on a day-to-day (sometimes minute-to-minute) basis on the progress of the war, to analyze the history of Russian conventional as well as hybrid tactics, to internalize Russian war doctrines and the current status of the war in Ukraine, to familiarize themselves with Putin's priors in political signalling through similar actions, and who do not only rely solely on public sources, it's not just an equal toss between alternatives until proven otherwise.
 
As context for Russia resorting to escalating hybrid warfare tactics (such as gas pipeline sabotage), ISW describes in its latest update Russia's conventional warfare losses increasingly including "the most elite Russian military forces . . . becoming increasingly degraded as the war continues" (namely 144th Motorized Rifle Division and the 76th Guards Air Assault Division):

Ukrainian forces continued to make substantial gains around Lyman and in Kherson Oblast in the last 48 hours.

Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that Ukrainian troops made significant breakthroughs in northern Kherson Oblast between October 2 and 3.[1] Geolocated footage corroborates Russian claims that Ukrainian troops are continuing to push east of Lyman and may have broken through the Luhansk Oblast border in the direction of Kreminna.[2] As ISW has previously reported, the Russian groupings in northern Kherson Oblast and on the Lyman front were largely comprised of units that had been regarded as among Russia’s premier conventional fighting forces before the war.[3] Elements of the 144th Motorized Rifle Division of the 20th Combined Arms Army reportedly withdrew from Lyman to rear positions near Kreminna before October 2.[4] Russian sources previously reported that elements of the Russian Airborne Forces (VDV), especially the 76th Guards Air Assault Division, are active in Kherson Oblast.[5] Both the 144th Motorized Rifle Division and the 76th Guards Air Assault Division were previously lauded as some of Russia’s most elite forces, and their apparent failures to hold territory against major Ukrainian counter-offensive actions is consistent with ISW’s previous assessment that even the most elite Russian military forces are becoming increasingly degraded as the war continues. This phenomenon was also visible in the collapse of the 4th Tank Division of the 1st Guards Tank Army earlier in the Kharkiv counter-offensive.[6]
 
Why is sabotage by Special Forces not a third scenario? If there was an underwater explosion, this sounds like limpet mines to me. They have the added advantage of having time fuses that would allow the saboteurs to be long gone by the time of the explosion(s). As DavidB66 pointed out earlier, if there was sabotage, not getting caught is paramount to the nation(s) responsible.
Considering the scale of explosion, this was probably not limpet mines. Estimation of around 500kg charge, seismic sensors recorded a 2.3 mag tremors. Would be quite a few limpet mines for that. Also the pipe is 4cm steel and encased in a fair bit of concrete at certain points.

In any case, not going to happen by fluke, needs emplacement by someone/thing. There's a few methods of initiation which would allow plenty of time to get out of there though.
 
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This is the Russian "propaganda", as presented at the UN:
Fact #1. A few weeks prior to the beginning of the special military operation US President J.Biden said, “ If Russia invades, that means tanks and troops crossing the border of Ukraine again, then there will be… there will be no longer Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it”.

When asked by a journalist how that could be possible since Nord Stream-2 was controlled by Germany and not the United States, Biden said, “I promise you we will be able to do it” – the idea that was largely picked up by many US officials.

Fact #2. In June 2022 the Danish island of Bornholm, where the incident would take place in three months from that moment, served as the location for NATO’s military exercise BALTOPS in the Baltic Sea.

According to the American media “Sea Power”, during the exercise NATO focused on testing unmanned underwater vehicles – the task for which the water area around Bornholm was best suited. After the exercise was completed, USS Kearsarge assault ship did not leave the Baltic Sea and remained in the vicinity of the island until the second decade of September. Most interestingly, the ship’s helicopter squad started patrolling the area around Bornholm as early as in August, and the flight line of those aircraft surprisingly coincided with the pipeline route. I emphasize that this is open data on geolocation of sea and air transport which is collected on the basis of the transponders’ signal. It means that the United States did not conceal its presence in the area and completed its maneuvers in an exhibitory and ostentatious way.

Fact #3. Right after the incident, former Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs of Poland Radek Sikorski posted a photo from the explosion site on his twitter feed and complimented the United States for this sabotage. “Thank you USA”, that’s what he wrote. But he did not stop at that and went even further, adding the following comment. “There’s no shortage of pipeline capacity for taking gas from Russia to Western Europe, including Germany. Nord Stream’s only logic was for Putin to be able to blackmail or wage war on Eastern Europe with impunity”. [...]

Fact #4. Almost simultaneously with the sabotage at the Nord Stream, the opening ceremony of another gas transportation facility, the Baltic Pipe, was taking place in the Polish city of Goleniow. It is a pipeline from Norway which Poland has long perceived as a salvation from the Nord Stream, even though its capacity cannot be compared to that of the Nord Stream.

re fact #1:

Source: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xxXr7Oe_toA


re fact #2:
JUN 12 2022

In support of BALTOPS, U.S. Navy Sixth Fleet partnered with U.S. Navy research and warfare centers to bring the latest advancements in Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) mine hunting technology to the Baltic Sea to demonstrate the vehicle’s effectiveness in operational scenarios.

Experimentation was conducted off the coast of Bornholm, Denmark, with participants from Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific, Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Newport, and Mine Warfare Readiness and Effectiveness Measuring (MIREM) -- all under the direction of U.S. Sixth Fleet Task Force 68.

The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) left the Baltic on Thursday 22nd [Sep 2022]

re fact #3:

Source: https://mobile.twitter.com/TheInsiderPaper/status/1575513683777789954
 
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Considering the scale of explosion, this was probably not limpet mines. Estimation of around 500kg charge, seismic sensors recorded a 2.3 mag tremors. Would be quite a few limpet mines for that. Also the pipe is 4cm steel and encased in a fair bit of concrete at certain points.

In any case, not going to happen by fluke, needs emplacement by someone/thing. There's a few methods of initiation which would allow plenty of time to get out of there though.
Some fair points, but I think it's a good bet we're not talking about your grandfather/father's limpet mine technology. Advances in energetic chemistry and weapons design, subs (like the US Virginia and UK Astute classes) designed from the ground up to transport/support clandestine underwater missions, highly specialized (and almost certainly classified) underwater gear/support equipment, and operators with the best training in history for such missions would be expected to up the game of limpet type mines and those who deploy them. An educated guess is a trip to the USN's Undersea Warfare Center in RI and/or similar facilities in other nations would be an eye opener.

All that said, I believe if the damage was done by limpet type explosive device(s), it/they were conceived/designed/tested/produced uniquely for this mission. When time is critical, new specialized weapons can be fast tracked. An example was the "bunker buster" bomb used in Desert Storm, from clean sheet of paper to deployment to the ME was less than a month.
 
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Some more background:
1 March 2022

The pipeline construction, however, was delayed with Swiss-Dutch deep-sea pipe-laying company Allseas suspending work on the project in December 2019 following sanctions announced by the US in the same month on the companies engaged in the Nord Stream 2 project. The US saw the pipeline as a geopolitical weapon in the hands of Russia and hence imposed sanctions to protect Europe’s energy security.

Gazprom restarted construction using Russia’s own pipe-laying vessel Fortuna in January 2021 and completed the pending 160km stretch in Danish waters as well as works on pipeline endpoints in Russia and Germany in September 2021.

The governments of ten European countries sent a letter to the European Commission in November 2015 stating that the pipeline project is against the interests of the EU. The European countries objecting to the pipeline other than Ukraine included Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

I've seen an expert claim that the damage occurred where the pipeline was finally joined, but I suspect that was more of a general statement, referring to the Danish section being laid last—by the Russians, due to the US sanctions.

This provides further evidence on who "hated" the pipeline, @FatPhil .
 
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@Landru, @Mick West - as the pipeline damage is a single bounded-in-time-and-space event for which there will be claims of evidence and discussion that might go on for a while as alternatives are excluded, would it be possible to split the tail of this thread into its own thread, please?
 
This provides further evidence on who "hated" the pipeline, @FatPhil .
I didn't see any expression of emotion in that source. It's evidence it was viewed as an economic threat, but not every threat invokes "hate" as a response. Some threats are best met with diplomacy. "Hate" specifically, is the only thing I called you on when I posted ``[citation needed] - specifically the "hates" bit.'', so seem to be reading something between the lines that really isn't there. I've made no expression of how likely I consider any particular parties are to be culpable for this event, if you're trying to persuade me I'm overlooking something when it comes to whom I should be blaming, you're having the wrong argument, or an argument with the wrong person. (However, my local bookie's got great odds on it being Colonel Mustard, in the bathroom, with the bog brush.) At the moment, we're still looking for evidence, and that's when the real discussion can begin, but before we have that we're still capable of applying analytic minds to try to exclude some of the speculative possibilities, just to narrow the problem-space.
 
External Quote:
"It was a relatively inexpensive way to send a very informative signal to the West.
Why 3 holes instead of one? wouldn't that be even less expensive?

why not sabotage the Baltic pipeline to Poland on the day before it is due to be opened?

none of your experts look unbiased to me:
  • Sergey Vakulenko in Carnegie Politka [The Carnegie Endowment is s Washington Think Tank]
  • Kristine Berzina, a senior fellow for security and defence at the German Marshall Fund [also headquartered in Washington]
  • Scott Savitz, a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation [yet another Think Tank]
  • A British defence source
  • Rebekah Koffler, a former DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency] intelligence officer
  • Former CIA Director John Brennan
  • Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a former US senior intelligence officer

If I saw evidence of Putin "signaling" something, that'd be great.
 
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That maybe true to anonymous MB guessers but not entirely accurate when it comes to competent intelligence analysts providing sound rationale for why Russia is the likeliest culprit. Does that mean these experts know the culprit with certainty? Of course not.

But to those who are tasked, as a profession or service duty, to understand the political and military context surrounding such events, to perform operational analysis on a day-to-day (sometimes minute-to-minute) basis on the progress of the war, to analyze the history of Russian conventional as well as hybrid tactics, to internalize Russian war doctrines and the current status of the war in Ukraine, to familiarize themselves with Putin's priors in political signalling through similar actions, and who do not only rely solely on public sources, it's not just an equal toss between alternatives until proven otherwise.
If those analysts are also speculating, then using their speculations to support your own does not reduce the likelihood of error much, if at all (especially when you consider that some analysists may not be disinterested, objective observers). You could perhaps reason your way to eliminating implausible conspiracies (e.g., the lady down the street did it because she hates [Russia/Ukraine/Germany/etc.]), but you really can't get much further than that with reason alone. Once evidence starts to be available, then there will be a more interesting discussion to be had about how to interpret that evidence in light of the overarching theories of possible motives. Or maybe that evidence will just be unambiguous and point to only one actor in particular. In any case, right now, it's all speculation, all the way down.
 
If those analysts are also speculating, then using their speculations to support your own does not reduce the likelihood of error much, if at all (especially when you consider that some analysists may not be disinterested, objective observers).

Not all speculations are equal in their explanatory power and ability to predict observations (scientific testability). I highlighted in the part you cited why this is so.

You didn't really demonstrate errors in that 'highlight' but rather repeated your original claim (using court room evidence logic) that 'all speculations are equal before hard evidence'. Serious science / rigorous attempts at scientific analysis by trained professionals outside the academia doesn't entirely share that logic.

Now, if (1) you can demonstrate why these analysts are highly incompetent or biased (say, because some of their jobs within Washington-based think tanks or status as former US intelligence officials automatically render them such owing to some sound logical principles supported by evidence) or (2) can present more plausible expertise by others who disagree with them, then we will have more to go on with.

In any case, if the potentially emerging evidence points unequivocally to Russia, then we must also recognize in retrospect that certain early speculations were clearly superior to others, but we just couldn't prove them earlier.
 
biased (say, because some of their jobs within Washington-based think tanks or status as former US intelligence officials automatically render them such ...
if I cut your quote here, I agree with it
... owing to some sound logical principles supported by evidence)
you seem to want to argue that people who've sworn an oath to protect the USA, or who advise the US on how to best beat Russia (e.g. RAND) shouldn't be assumed to be biased in favour of the USA

and also reverse the burden of evidence
In any case, if the potentially emerging evidence points unequivocally to Russia, then we must also recognize in retrospect that certain early speculations were clearly superior to others, but we just couldn't prove them earlier.
how do you distinguish a "superior speculation" from a lucky guess?
 
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