The recent incident affecting the undersea Nord Stream gas pipeline fits well with Russia's signature, Indrek Kannik, director of Tallinn-based think-tank the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) says.
Kannik says there is no doubt that Russia is behind the Nord Stream pipeline ruptures, found earlier this week close to the Danish island of Bornholm.
Appearing on ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Thursday, Kannik said: "All logic would suggest that this was a diversionary act orchestrated by Russia. Given that Russia has been escalating events surrounding Ukraine over the past two weeks in any case - announcing these referenda, that it is about to annex additional Ukrainian territory, threatening the world with nuclear weapons - all of this fits their 'handwriting' quite well."
"If we also consider whether any other state does such things, whether anyone from the surrounding countries, democratic nations, in addition to the US, act in this way, well they don't. But blowing up one's own property is an old handwriting from the Russians, perhaps calling to mind residential buildings in Moscow," he went on, likely referring to the October 1999 Moscow apartment bombings which killed over 300 people and are thought to have been the false flag attack which not only justified the start of the second Chechen War, but also led to a surge in the popularity of Vladimir Putin, prime minister and the time, culminating in his becoming president the following year, a position which he has held ever since, barring one more term as prime minister 2008-2012.
According to Kannik, the blowing up of gas pipes using underwater drones is one theoretical possibility on what happened.
"There are other possibilities [too]. The maritime traffic is so dense in that area that if a vessel were to linger there a little longer, and there divers could go from there to in turn install some kind of underwater explosive, then this could easily go unnoticed.
"Now let's rewind and take a look at what has happened in the last few weeks. There are some cameras in these countries too, and you can see what ships have passed through there and how quickly," he said.
Russia might want to damage the Nord Stream pipes as part of an additional means of escalation, Kannik said.
"Since the Russians are not doing well in their battles in Ukraine, it is necessary to further escalate and hope that the nerve of the other party will not hold, that the West will force Ukraine to make concessions to Russia and come to the table to negotiate with it."
"Plus Russia's negotiating position would be clear, that we fix the current front line where it is, and it will remain the front-line. Of course, Ukraine won't agree with that. Here, they want to play on the fact that the West is concerned about the upcoming winter, meaning tensions will increase, whereby if they have managed to blow up one pipe, they can theoretically do that elsewhere as well," Kannik went on.
The West has reacted uniformly to the case of the Nord Stream incidents, he added.
"Practically everyone has more-or-less directly stated that this is the Russian's handiwork. In addition, Denmark and Sweden have begun to investigate it, the Americans have offered them help in that investigation, based on the information they have. The next steps which must be taken now are other simply protect and guard those other pipelines more diligently."
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael
Source: 'Ringvaade', Marko Reikop.