Saks: Nord Stream news articles could be Russian information operation
The German media reports on Nord Stream could be part of a Russian disinformation campaign designed to mislead the public, as the European Union at the moment is debating the production of shells for Ukraine, Rainer Saks said.
The German media reported that the investigation into the explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipeline has led to a Ukrainian connection.
This was the conclusion reached by German public broadcaster ARD, Südwestrundfunk and Die Zeit, citing sources from multiple countries and special services. The publications retraced a yacht chartered by a Ukrainian-owned company as it traveled from Germany to Nordstream.
According to the media, a Ukrainian-owned Polish company rented a yacht in the fall to blast the Nord Stream pipeline. While the actual users of the yacht, including divers, are not known as they used fake documents, traces of explosives were later discovered on the yacht. The authors cite sources from several countries and German investigative agencies.
Security expert Rainer Saks believes it to be a Russian information operation.
"The message Russia was sending at the time, it had two important components. The first was that, since the European Union planned to stop purchasing gas from Russia, it would be an anticipatory measure to harm the European side. But the second, which is more significant, was the implication that they could target Europe's vital underwater infrastructure," Saks said.
"Now, when something like this occurs and this type of information operation is piled on top of it — it intimidates and creates a sense of danger," Saks added.
The published materials focus on the alleged explosion organizers rather than the explosion itself. According to the Swedish Seismic Network, the explosions were equivalent to 100 kilograms of trinitrotoluene explosive (TNT). Kaido Peremees, the head of the diving company Tuukritööde OÜ, said that there was even no need to dive to blow up a gas pipe.
"In theory, diving would not be necessary to destroy such a pipe. It is quite easy to locate. You do not even have to get right on top of the pipe. An explosion of this magnitude has the same effect on it as a needle on a balloon. It is a pressurized vessel containing gas. Even the slightest impact could cause it to rupture," he said.
The report was released at the time of a meeting of European defense ministers in Stockholm to discuss the production of one million artillery shells for Ukraine.
Rainer Saks said that even if the media delayed the Europeans' decision by one month, Russia will benefit from it.
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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Kristina Kersa