A powerful IPSO about destruction of Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the BLOWUP style

Once upon a time, in 1966, the great Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni made his outstanding movie Blowup that many years ago foretold the development of social relations to a point where it is impossible to distinguish between the truth and the lie, true crimes dissolve in the fog of uncertainty, and the innocent become criminals. Kind of a hybrid world. After reading numerous articles in the world media regarding the sabotage on the Nord Stream (NS) 1 and 2, this work of the outstanding master comes to mind. 

On March 7 and 8, 2023, one could see a powerful wave of reports in the leading Western media about the possible involvement of certain pro-Ukrainian forces in explosions at gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. This wave was launched by The New-York Times and the German Zeit and then picked up by The WashingtonPost, CNN, BBC, ARD, Kontraste, SWR,Spiegel and other well-known media.

To put it concisely, the essence of the matter is that special services of many countries are investigating the reasons for blowing up the gas pipelines. At the same time, certain anonymous people, who seem to be familiar with the course of the investigation, have provided information that there is no evidence of the involvement of Russian, US or any other state services of NATO countries in this act of sabotage. Instead, the idea that Ukraine was most of all interested in undermining the energy infrastructure is persistently pursued, as the keynote, so some unidentified pro-Ukrainian activists not connected to the Ukrainian authorities probably carried out this subversive act.

The customer in this case is allegedly identified – a Ukrainian oligarch who organized this special operation, which was carried out by people with Ukrainian or Russian passports, using a rented 50-feet yacht. There is also a clear hint that traces were found on this yacht indicating the involvement of a certain Ukrainian oligarch in the organization of an operation unprecedented in history, which the most famous special services of the world may envy. Wasn’t the oligarch's business card found on the vessel?

The authors hope that an undemanding consumer must believe in this dubious "construction". Furthermore, this, so to say, informational product is dressed with the sauce from the murder of Daria Dugina, strikes on the Engels airfield and the Kerch bridge – the pain points that are of great concern to the Kremlin. And these facts immediately make us think, who actually ordered that IPSO. 

It is clear that the authors of this version do not have (or do not want to have) any idea of the technical side of the issue. They do not take into account that the pipelines lie at a depth of more than 80 m, are covered with a thick layer of stones and can withstand more than 500 atmospheres of pressure; that it is necessary to have exact coordinates not only of the actual pipelines but also of welding seams (only builders and Russian special services can have them); that this area of the Baltic Sea has an intense maritime traffic; that the entire infrastructure of Nord Stream 1 and 2 is constantly monitored by many countries; that in order to carry out this act of sabotage, it is necessary not only to have super-trained military divers well acquainted with the Baltic waters but also military grade explosives and special watercraft (underwater drones, mini submarines).

More details about the technical part of the case can be found in the articles by well-known experts M. Bielawski ("Technical footprint of the Russians in explosions at Nord Streams 1 and 2") and M. Gonchar ("The Baltic-2022: End of gas flows as a continuation of Russia’s hybrid aggression against Europe").

However, the initiators of this IPSO probably did not believe in the durability of the "house on the sand" built by them, and therefore hurried to play it safe with phrases in The New York Times that foil all efforts to organize this tenth wave of information noise, based on unverified anonymous information . They literally say that firstly, “there are no firm conclusions about it”, and secondly, “there were still enormous gaps in what U.S. spy agencies and their European partners knew about what transpired”.

By contrast to this large-scale IPSO, I would like to concisely present my own versions. I cannot seriously consider the option of organizing an act of sabotage at NS 1 and 2 by official or unofficial Ukrainian structures, since they did not have the technical capabilities and personnel to carry it out. The Russian version regarding the involvement of "Anglo-Saxons" with the explosions is also more than doubtful. 

At this fateful time of confrontation with Russia and the PRC, it is highly undesired for the US and Great Britain to split NATO’s unity by destroying relations with the leading European country – Germany. At the same time, one should not forget about the strategic line of the US to prevent a direct confrontation with Russia. The involvement of the USA or Great Britain in an act of sabotage at gas pipelines, 50% owned by Gazprom, would certainly have led to a major escalation with Moscow. 

Also, do not forget the agreements between Washington and Berlin on the eve of Russia's large-scale invasion about the complete stoppage of NS 2 in case that the Kremlin unleashes a war against Ukraine. A question arises, why should Washington get involved in a dangerous adventure, if there are agreements on NS-2, absolutely comfortable for the White House?

All arguments that the Kremlin was not interested in blowing up its own gas pipelines, as it would harm Russia’s economic interests and Gazprom’s business, are shaky. Long before February 24, 2022, the Russian leadership definitely stopped thinking in economic terms, otherwise it would not have started its aggression against Ukraine. During the large-scale war, the Kremlin subordinated economic factors to the military logic by 100%. I will try to reproduce its basic elements as exemplified by Nord Stream 1 and 2.

The gas pipelines were blown up immediately after the defeat of Russian troops in Kharkiv region and at the beginning of the operation to liberate Kherson. In such a dire situation, the Russian Federation critically wanted suspension of military and financial aid to Ukraine from the EU. At the same time, natural gas prices there were very high before the heating season due to Gazprom's deliberate reduction of gas supply through the Ukrainian corridor (by 2.5 times) and stoppage of supply by the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline.

That is, using energy weapons, Moscow wanted to achieve its goal, but it did not work. Then, the Kremlin tried to manipulate Siemens turbines at NS-1 in order to justify the stoppage of gas supply and further raise prices for European consumers, but this plan also failed. However, the Russian leadership needed a sharp aggravation of the economic situation in the EU, hoping that European politicians would not withstand the tension, and support for Ukraine would collapse. The stakes were too high.

This time, the Kremlin decided to carry out a plan of sabotage pursuing the following goals:

  • a significant increase in gas prices for the EU during the heating season will force the EU countries to suspend financial and military aid to Ukraine under the pressure of economic circumstances;
  • provoking force majeure could allow the Russian Federation to avoid payment of huge sums for breach of contractual obligations;
  • accusation of the USA and Great Britain of undermining NS 1 and 2, which (in Moscow's opinion) might undermine the Euro-Atlantic unity;
  • provoking the EU countries in a critical situation with a "carrot" by intentionally not blowing up one of the four pipeline strings;
  • preservation of the option of quick resumption of the work of NS 1 and 2, in case the EU abandons the strategy of helping Ukraine in exchange for "cheap" Russian gas.

If the Russian Federation had implemented the above plan, its military and political benefits would have manifoldly exceeded the relatively small economic losses of 500 million euros on the restoration of NS 1 and 2. In addition, the Russian Federation had a set of technological, personnel, logistical and informational advantages for the implementation of this act of sabotage as no other NATO country, not to mention Ukraine.

After all, Gazprom and its contractors built these gas pipelines, had all the technical documentation and the possibility of using PIG technology — a piston for intrauterine diagnostics that could be equipped with explosives and able to move along the given coordinates within the pipe.

It should also be taken into account that the Baltic Sea is well known to the Russian Navy special military unit No. 45707, which has all the necessary technological and human resources and the experience to carry out secret sabotage.

That is why I believe that the Russian "trace" in the NS 1 and 2 explosions is clearly visible through the information fog that the world's leading mass media have produced in this not very complicated situation. Instead, the version with a pro-Ukrainian oligarch is from the category of pulp fiction. 



Volodymyr Omelchenko

Director, Energy Programmes

Born in 1967 in Kyiv

Education: Kyiv Politechnic Institute, Department of Chemical Engineering (1992)

Author of over 50 scientific works and op-ed publications. Took part in development and implementation of international energy projects and scientific research in international energy policy


1992 – 1996 — worked in different positions in the mechanical engineering industry

1997 – 1998 — Head Expert of the Division of Oil, Gas and Petroleum Refining Industry of the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine

1998 – 2003 — Naftohaz Ukrayiny National Joint-Stock Company, in Charge of Oil Transportation Section

2004 – 2007 — Chief Consultant at the National Institute of International Security Problems of Ukraine’s NSDC

since February, 2007 — Leading Expert, Razumkov Centre. Director of Energy Programmes since 2013

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