How divers from Putin’s special ops sabotage unit could have blown up the Nord Stream gas pipeline under NATO’s noses

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A CRACK force of divers from a shadowy Russian special operations unit may be behind the attack on the Nord Stream gas pipeline, security experts have claimed.

Spetsnaz frogmen – a secret branch of the Russian military – and underwater drones could have been deployed to blow up the strategically important supply route.

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The Baltic Sea foams with bubbles from the leaking Nord Stream gas pipelineCredit: AP
Russia is suspected of sabotaging its own strategic supply lines to stir up trouble in Europe

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Russia is suspected of sabotaging its own strategic supply lines to stir up trouble in Europe

Huge bubbles have burst on the sea surface near the Danish island of Bornholm – a NATO member – following reports of explosions along the pipeline on Monday.

Sweden confirmed it had detected two underwater explosions near the leak sites while German gas engineers reported there was an “explosive” pressure drop in the pipeline and pipes had been “ripped out”.

Western leaders have accused Russia of sabotaging the line to stoke an energy crisis in Europe before winter.

And according to an independent defense analyst, it is “not out of the question” to believe that Moscow could have been behind the destruction of the pipeline under NATO’s nose.

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Underwater warfare expert HI Sutton said Russia’s GUGI naval unit, which reportedly reports directly to Vladimir Putin, may have used spy ships to carry out an attack.

The naval specialist said: “GUGI and internet eavesdropping submarines. Today the Russian Navy has the largest fleet of spy submarines in the world. These are based in the Arctic.

“They would be able to damage a pipeline in the Baltic. But that seems unlikely.”

GUGI – the secret Main Directorate for Deep Sea Research – is on a mission to deliver a catastrophic blow to the West and is known for commandeering the best ships of the Navy.

HI Sutton also said the underwater supply channel was in 230 feet of “divable” water which could be easily reached by professional divers who could then plant bombs.

“People will also point to Russian Spetsnaz divers based in the Baltic. Not out of the question, but most of the information available is outdated,” he explained.

He also said that Russia is home to a laboratory developing advanced underwater drones capable of carrying out attacks on the high seas.

He said: “Russia, however, has autonomous underwater vehicles.

“A new center for their development is in St. Petersburg. Some of them might be suitable.”

He added that they would need “a host ship of some sort” to transport them.

Anders Puck Nielsen, a researcher at the Royal Danish Defense College, echoed those concerns, saying Putin’s frogmen could easily hoist remote-controlled explosives down the pipeline.

“Technically speaking, it’s not difficult. It just requires a boat. It requires divers who know how to handle explosive devices,” he said.

“But I think if we look at who would actually benefit from disruption, more chaos in the gas market in Europe, I think there’s basically only one player right now who really benefits from more uncertainty, and that is Russia”.

Another probable cause, according to a British military source, is that Russian special ops may have quietly laid mines from a disguised commercial vessel and detonated them days or weeks later, according to The Guardian.

How the heavily reinforced pipeline – which is covered in 25 tonnes of steel-reinforced concrete and weighs 11 tonnes each – burst remains unclear at this time.

Ukraine has accused Russia of carrying out a “terrorist attack” after three leaks appeared in the two strategic pipelines that flow under the Baltic Sea.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said it was an “act of sabotage” while his Danish and Swedish counterparts viewed the leaks as “deliberate actions”.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said intelligence she had received suggested the blasts were intentional.

A seismograph on the Danish island of Bornholm shows two peaks, at 0003 and 1700 GMT followed by a

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A seismograph on the Danish island of Bornholm shows two peaks, at 0003 and 1700 GMT followed by a lower level ‘hiss’Credit: Reuters

“We have Swedish intelligence, but we also received information during our contacts with Denmark, and on this basis we concluded that it was probably a deliberate act. It is probably a matter of sabotage,” she said.

“This is not an attack on Swedish or Danish territory. But that said, the government takes what happened very seriously, especially in light of the current security situation nearby.”

Meanwhile, it emerged that the CIA warned Germany of a possible attack on Nord Stream pipelines weeks ago, according to Der Spiegel.

Swedish seismologist Bjorn Lund detected an explosion with a force of 100 kg of TNT – and the Norwegian monitoring group Norsar recorded an earthquake with a magnitude of around 2.2.

Mr Lund said he detected two explosions near the pipeline on Monday, one at 2 a.m. and another at 7:04 p.m.

“There is no doubt that these were explosions,” he said.

Nord Stream AG – the pipeline operator – said it was impossible to estimate when the gas network would be repaired.

Flows through the pipeline, which had been operating at only 20% capacity since July, were halted at the end of August.

Russia’s state oil and gas company Gazprom said it needed essential maintenance, but did not reopen the line.

European leaders said the shutdown was purely political as Putin tried to hold the West to ransom for its support for Kyiv.

Although the apparent sabotage didn’t immediately affect supply, it sent prices up as much as 12%, Bloomberg reports.

Ships and planes have been ordered to keep clear with a five-nautical-mile, 1,000-metre exclusion zone established around the leaks due to fears of a disastrous explosion.

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The Danish warship HDMS Absalon – a 6,300 ton frigate armed with missiles and a five-inch naval gun – has been deployed to enforce the exclusion zone.

The twin 800-mile Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines can transport 110 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Russia to Western Europe.

Helicopter footage shows boiling seas above Nord Stream pipelines

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Helicopter footage shows boiling seas above Nord Stream pipelines1 credit
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