Nord Stream Blast: German Media Debunked 'Pro-Ukrainian Group' Story the Same Week it Appeared
© Photo : Swedish Coast GuardGas leak location on Nord Stream 2
© Photo : Swedish Coast Guard
German center-right newspaper Bild has insisted that the mainstream media story that the Nord Stream pipelines were destroyed by a team of six operating from the Andromeda, a 15-meter chartered yacht, is becoming increasingly dubious.
Earlier this week, The New York Times and Die Zeit claimed that "new intelligence" had traced the Nord Stream sabotage attack to a "pro-Ukrainian group" consisting of five men and one woman who used a yacht rented in Poland. The vessel was later found by German investigators and turned out to be the Andromeda, a Bavaria C50 sailing boat. The group reportedly embarked on their mission from Rostock on September 6, 2022. The equipment for the secret operation was allegedly transported to the port in a truck.
However, this theory soon started to fall apart at the seams. German newspaper Der Spiegel was the first to cite apparent discrepancies. Bild doubled down on debunking the story.
Immediately after the explosions, Denmark and Sweden concluded that the blasts were equivalent to the power of "several hundred kilograms of explosive," or, according to some estimates 1,500-2,000 kilograms. Experts are skeptical whether a 15-meter chartered yacht could carry such a load. Furthermore, the Andromeda does not have a crane to hoist such quantities safely into the water, according to the media.
Another problem is that at the site of the explosion, the Baltic Sea, is about 80 meters deep, which requires special diving equipment, including air tanks with a helium-oxygen mixture and pure oxygen. All in all, one would need 30 liters of a special gas mixture for one dive alone, which means there must have been dozens of bottles on board. In addition, there should have been a decompression chamber for the divers, something that the yacht is not fit for.
Furthermore, it would have taken several dives and a few days to lay the explosives on the pipelines. It's hard to imagine that these activities would have gone completely unnoticed, experts say. Likewise, it appears to be nearly impossible to covertly transport 1,500 to 2,000 kg of explosives through Poland and Germany.
Cracks also appeared in the theory that the attack was conducted by some unaffiliated volunteer group of either Russian or Ukrainian origins.
On March 10, the chair of the Bundestag’s intelligence oversight committee, Konstantin von Notz from the Green Party, told Die Zeit, that what happened on September 26, 2022 was likely a "state-backed act of terrorism."
It's more likely that the sabotage was conducted by a "state or quasi-state actor," von Notz insisted. According to the German lawmaker, it would be very demanding to transport the military explosives – up to two tons, he believed – undetected to the right place in the Baltic Sea, and then bring them to the relevant depth in order to trigger several explosions in a controlled manner. Von Notz noted that a "state-backed act of terrorism makes it more likely that false or deceptive clues were laid."
In early February, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh published a report saying that the Nord Stream natural gas infrastructure was destroyed by American and Norwegian operatives at the request of the Biden administration. According to Hersh, US Navy divers during the NATO BALTOPS 22 exercises in June 2022 planted explosives to destroy the pipelines, which Norway activated three months later. As per the investigative journalist, US President Joe Biden decided to sabotage the Nord Stream pipes after more than nine months of secret discussions with the national security team.