German Spy Ship Reportedly Sent on Secret Mission to Nord Stream 1 Site Days Before Blast
22:12 GMT 15.03.2023 (Updated: 17:08 GMT 31.07.2023)
© Photo : Swedish Coast Guard In this picture provided by Swedish Coast Guard, the gas leak in the Baltic Sea from Nord Stream photographed from the Coast Guard's aircraft on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2022
© Photo : Swedish Coast Guard
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The German navy has confirmed to ZDF broadcaster that it sent a spy ship in September on a secret mission to the area where a rupture was confirmed days later in the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.
An Oste-class electronic signals intelligence and reconnaissance vessel left the northern port of Kiel in the Baltic Sea on September 7 and stayed within a 13-mile radius from the site of the explosion until September 14. Blasts tore through three of the four Nord Stream pipelines on September 26.
A spokesman for the German navy's special operations forces command told the German outlet that the ship, which is capable of gathering diverse intelligence, was on a "routine mission" but that collected data did not allow the military to identify those behind the attack.
The broadcaster reported that a sailing yacht, Andromeda, was also present in the area around the time of the blast. The federal prosecutor's office suspects it carried explosives, traces of which were found on the vessel during a police search in January.
Russia has deemed the explosions an act of terrorism.
The Nord Stream fallout gained renewed attention in early February after Pulitzer Prize-winning US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh wrote in a blog post - citing a source familiar with the operational planning - that US navy divers laid the bombs under the pipelines under the cover of Baltops exercises held months before the explosions.
It has also been detailed that the planted explosives were remotely detonated at the direction of US President Joe Biden.