An investigative documentary claims that there were Russian ships nearby where explosions on the Nord Stream pipes later occurred that were capable of performing underwater operations.
According to reports, the vessels were found via intercepted communications from the Russian navy.
Two Nord Stream pipelines that were constructed to transport gas from Russia to Europe were rendered inoperable by underwater explosions in September of last year.
Uncertainty surrounds the explosions’ origin.
Formal investigations are still taking place in countries close to the blast site. So far, they have said only that they believe the explosions were the result of sabotage rather than any kind of accident.
But one possible lead pointing towards Russian involvement has emerged from details of suspicious Russian ship movements in the run-up to the Nord Stream blasts, reported by four Nordic public broadcasters and an accompanying
The movements and actions of ships between June and September of last year are the subject of an inquiry by Denmark’s DR, Norway’s NRK, Sweden’s SVT, and Finland’s Yle. These movements and acts are seen to be exceedingly uncommon.
The tugboat SB-123, the Russian naval research ship Sibiryakov, and a third ship from the Russian naval fleet that the media has not been able to name specifically are thought to be the ships.
The transmitters on these so-called “ghost-ships” were off. However, the broadcasters claim that by using radio communications that were intercepted that the vessels sent to Russian naval bases, they were able to follow their movements.
The first vessel departed from a Russian naval base in Kaliningrad before arriving near the pipeline on 7 June.
One radio message places it directly above Nord Stream 2 before moving further north, close to the Nord Stream 1 pipelines, spending hours in the area where the pipeline runs about 80m (260ft) below the surface and where some of the leaks would later occur.
The Sibiryakov arrived on 14 June and went to the same position as the first vessel, close to Nord Stream, and remained there until the next day
A former British naval intelligence officer who worked on intercepting the Russian Baltic Fleet until his retirement in 2018 kept track of the movements. The unnamed officer claims that in order to do his research, he used radio transmissions and open-source data.
He claims the radio communication pattern in June showed they were occasionally in a “operational phase.”
On the evening of September 21, the SB-123 tugboat sailed out to the area. The broadcasters claim that from late that evening until around 14:00 on September 22 they intercepted signals that indicated it was working near the pipelines and the explosion sites.