SU-30SM, SU-35S, and SU-34 flying in formation - Sputnik International, 1920
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UK, Norway Launch 'Strategic Partnership' in Undersea Domain

CC BY-SA 2.0 / Defence Images / Defence Images 539 Assault Squadron performing a beach assaultPictured are Royal Marines and Royal Navy Personnel from 539 Assault Squadron performing a beach assault from an Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC) in Harstad, Norway (File)
Pictured are Royal Marines and Royal Navy Personnel from 539 Assault Squadron performing a beach assault from an Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC) in Harstad, Norway (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.05.2023
Despite the nations ostensibly teaming up to protect undersea infrastructure following Nord Stream blasts, the extent of their own alleged culpability in the attacks, which robbed Central and Western Europe of a major source of natural gas, remains unclear.
The UK and Norway have signed a security partnership in undersea domain, which includes the prevention of attacks on infrastructure, including gas pipeline and cables.
Under the agreement, announced by the defense ministers of both countries, Ben Wallace and Bjorn Arild Gram, Britain and Norway have also pledged to exchange intelligence, counter mine threats and improve the detection of submarines from hostile nations.
"The growing use of the seabed for energy and communications purposes has resulted in increased opportunities for adversaries to threaten Western subsea critical national infrastructure, as seen through the damaging of the Nord Stream pipeline, where the UK and Norway have jointly increased security patrols in the region," a statement by the UK Defence Ministry said, citing "shared interests in the North Sea" and promising to simplify the process for allies and partners to "join or complement" the UK-Norwegian cooperation.
Gram also cited last year's sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines as a "concrete reminder of what is at stake."
This announcement builds on ongoing defense cooperation between the two countries, as well as shared capabilities such as P-8A maritime patrol aircraft and F-35s. On a more concrete level, the UK will send its first patrolling ship, the RFA Proteus, to the North Sea in July, with the goal of protecting wind farms, cables and gas pipelines in Norwegian and British waters, Wallace said, claiming Russia's alleged "intent and capability" to sabotage critical Western infrastructure.
The references to the Nord Stream blast sounded rather uncanny as a series of revelation pieces published by US veteran journalist Seymour Hersh earlier this year specifically uncovered Norway's alleged role in it. According to Hersh, explosives under the Russian pipelines were planted by US Navy divers, assisted by Norwegian specialists, under the guise of the Baltops exercise.

Hersh furthermore wrote that "much of the secret planning and training" for the sabotage attacks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines "took place in Norway," citing the Norwegian Navy's "long and murky history of cooperation with American intelligence," starting from the Vietnam War, where at least two Norwegian seamen had confessed to complicity in covert operations organized by the CIA.

The role of the UK in the Nord Stream blasts isn't clear as well, as last November Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova sought answers regarding the mysterious "It's done" iPhone message allegedly sent by then-Prime Minister Liz Truss to the US secretary of state Antony Blinken moments after the sabotage attacks against the Nord Stream network in late September.
The Seawolf-class fast attack submarine USS Seawolf (SSN 21) conducts a brief stop for personnel in the Norwegian Sea off the coast of Tromso, Norway, Aug. 21, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.02.2023
Seymour Hersh: US, Norway Have Cooperated on Clandestine Operations Since Vietnam War
Following the blasts, Western officials and media immediately launched a chorus claiming that Russia blew up its own $20 billion pipeline infrastructure for whatever reasons. The Kremlin accused the West of an "unprecedented act of state terrorism" involving Nord Stream, but did not name any specific states, with President Vladimir Putin only hinting involvement by the "Anglo-Saxons" (which in Russia is seen as a typical reference to the Anglosphere).
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