There is no shortage of accusations and speculation about who is behind the leaks on the Nord Stream pipes. Well, Russia also demands to be involved in the investigation. But what can you actually find out?
– There are some possibilities for clarification, says Kenneth Øhlenschlæger Buhl.
He is a military researcher at the Department of Strategy and War Studies at the Danish Defense Academy.
He also specializes in horticultural issues.
On Tuesday morning, the news first came that the pressure had dropped in the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 1, before it became clear that there were leaks on the gas pipeline.
There has been speculation about sabotage and who could be behind it. Many point to Russia, which for its part rejects the accusations and calls them “absurd”.
But in the middle of all the chaos, it is someone who has the task of finding out what has happened, including Denmark and Sweden.
Two of the leaks on the gas pipeline are in the Swedish economic zone. The third leak, on Nord Stream 2, leaks in the Danish economic zone.
An economic zone means an area of sea outside a country’s maritime territory. In the Danish economic zone, Denmark has an exclusive right to the natural Russians as fish and mineral resources on the seabed.
When the Nord Stream is delicious in Danish economics, it affects the fish in that area, and is Denmark’s problem.
Russia demands to join
To the Danish newspaper Politiken, the Russian ambassador Vladimir Barin said on Friday that Russia will insist on participating in the investigation of the leaks.
– The investigation will not be objective and reliable if Russian representatives and owners of the pipelines are not allowed to participate, he writes to the newspaper.
The Russian gas company Gazprom is the main owner of the pipeline.
– They must have the opportunity to participate in the investigation. The Russian side will insist on that, writes the ambassador.
Denmark’s Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said on Wednesday that he has not spoken to Russia about the gas leaks, and that he has no plans to do so either.
– Russia is a state that has started an illegal war of aggression in Ukraine and indeed the security of all of Europe. We have informed Russia in a memo about what we have found out, namely that it is a deliberate act, Kofod told the Danish news agency Ritzau.
Both the Swedish and Danish governments have announced that they will investigate what happened. But what can they do?
– It is a challenge, but it is definitely an opportunity, says Øhlenschlæger Buhl.
– You can find bomb remnants and rely on satellite images taken in the area. You can also take a closer look at other radar tracks in the area if they have capacity, and perhaps lead them back to a specific skip. There are many other intelligence methods which are secret and which we will probably never learn about.
It is still not certain that you will be able to find out who is behind it and it may not be until the areas around the gas leak are calm enough to investigate.
He believes that the attack may have taken place using an underwater drone.
– The attack most likely happened when a Mine Hunter sent a water drone down with a bomb, which was placed under the pipelines and caused the explosions.
A Mine Hunter is a naval vessel specially equipped and designed to guide mines to the seabed and defuse them once they have been found.
– Russia and several other countries have this type of skip in their fleets.
Difficult to find tracks
– The gas drags water up with it, something that involves rushing gas to this place all the time. That we can find smaller tracks or loose objects on the bottom is completely unlikely, says lecturer at Försvarshögskolan Hans Liwång to Ekot.
However, he believes that it may be possible to find chemical traces or traces of the explosive charge on the pipeline.
– Then it must be possible to say something about where the explosive charge came from, based on that you can start an investigation, he says to the radio channel.
– I think the investigators have a tough job ahead of them in finding evidence that points to a specific person or state, he says.
May be broken
Nord Stream 1 runs from Russia to Germany and supplies the country with gas. However, the gas pipeline was shut down indefinitely in early September, after being closed for a few days for maintenance.
Germany is very dependent on gas and with the supply line closed, Norway’s main source of gas is Russia.
German security authorities fear that it will not be possible to repair Nord Stream 1 and 2 after the explosion.
This is what the German newspaper writes Tagesspiegel which refers to anonymous government sources.
The company Nord Stream AG itself says that they believe repair on the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline is an option as soon as the extent of the damage is clear.
A spokesman for the company says it wants to carry out an inspection, so that the authority will soon ease the access restriction around the leak outside Bornholm. The spokesperson did not want to comment on the costs or who would pay for any repairs.
Nord Stream 2 AG, which operates the other Nord Stream pipeline, which is also affected by a major leak, says it is not possible to estimate the situation on the pipeline, but that it must be major structural damage.
They believe repairs may be difficult since the company has been sanctioned by the United States.
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