By Patial RC
President Biden said at a joint press conference along with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Feb 2022; “Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany will not go forward if Russia invades Ukraine…then there will be no longer Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it…I promise you we will be able to do that.”
The Ukrainian crisis is less about Ukraine but more about gas supply. It’s about Germany and, in particular, a pipeline that connects Germany to Russia called Nord Stream 2. It was almost fully-operational and ready to pump. Germans would have got a reliable source of gas energy while Russia would have got a boost to their gas revenues. This win-win situation for both Parties was not liked by the US Foreign Policy establishment. This is why the Biden administration opposed Nord Stream. It’s not just a pipeline; it’s a window into the future bringing Europe and Asia closer while leaving the US on the limb both politically and economically resulting in slowly losing the hold on NATO. Nord Stream is a system of offshore natural gas pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. Nord Stream 2 is 1,23o kms while the older Nord Stream 1 almost parallel pipeline was the longest subsea pipeline in the world before.
US Historically Against the Nord Stream pipeline
The US has historically seen the Nord Stream pipeline as an extension of Russian influence over Europe through Germany. In 2014, Condoleezza Rice, the former US secretary of state, openly stated the US sought to reduce Europe’s dependency on Russian energy platforms and increase their dependency on American ones.
The 26 September 2022 saw a series of explosions on Nord Streams pipeline pairs and subsequent gas leaks on both the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipeline pairs which were built to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany. Both pipeline pairs are majority owned by the Russian gas company, Gazprom and German private companies. The leaks are believed to have been caused by intentional sabotage; however, the identities and the motives behind such intentional sabotage remain a mystery. Nord Stream 2 pipeline was completed last year but never launched, however, was sanctioned by the US. Germany put an end to the project in February, two days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The leaks are located in the international waters.
The culprit behind the attacks on Nord Stream 2 has been widely speculated,by the Western sources near unanimously blaming Russia. However, some experts including US and logical thinkers argue that the US, rather than Russia, executed the alleged sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines. “There is considerable circumstantial evidence that the destruction of Nord Stream is a US operation, perhaps with other NATO countries,” Sachs, a Columbia University professor tells TRT World. The scale of the operation, the multiple sites and amount of explosives involved suggests the involvement of a state. There are few if any countries other than the US that have the capability and motivation to blow up the pipeline.
Russian President Vladimir Putin for his part also strongly implied US and British culpability, stating: “It’s obvious to everyone who benefits from it… Those who benefit are the ones who have done it.” Moscow denies blowing up pipelines, which cut Russian gas supply to countries like Germany, a vital revenue source. As a result, blowing up pipelines would not benefit Russia.
The elimination of Nord Stream’s gas supply capacity from the European energy equation also strengthens Ukraine. as a non-Ukrainian supply route for supplying gas to Europe will not be available. This was one of the reasons why Ukraine opposed the construction of Nord Stream 2. Vladimir Putin’s ‘Power of the natural gas not just a resource,but its use as a potential political and economic weapon is being lost.’ Russia with this has lost the opportunity of the bargaining power of gas supplies to Europe in exchange for concessions.
US sabotaged Nord Stream pipelines?
Gregory Simons, an associate professor at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden tells TRT World:
- If one does a cost-benefit analysis as to who benefits, there is only one clear beneficiary (US), especially given the timing, which is not coincidental.
- Blowing the pipeline up is not in Germany’s interests because there is growing public discontent about the energy shortage and approaching winter.
- He also questions how this would serve Russian interests. Explosions happened in Danish and Swedish territorial waters meaning that it would be have been risky for Moscow.
- Russians could “just turn off the flow of gas” if they wanted to punish the West.
- In this current situation, Russia has lost its leverage over Germany and EU because it cannot supply or deny the gas.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a press conference post the leak; “This is also a tremendous opportunity, referring to the Nord Stream’s alleged sabotage and Europe could move away from Moscow to Washington for their gas supply.”
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman said, “On our part, we view the actions on damaging the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines as an intentional act of sabotage against a very important facility of Russian infrastructure and will strive for a comprehensive open investigation with the participation of members of Russian authorized agencies and, of course, Gazprom.”
Sachs, a Columbia University professor tells TRT World. “While nothing is certain, the evidence at this stage points towards the US as the most likely cause of the events.” Russia,Germany, Sweden and Denmark have all demanded an inquiry to investigate the cause of the explosions. Will the UN take the initiative to conduct a transparent inquiry with an open mind and fix the responsibility.
– Nord Stream bombing: Does the needle of suspicion point towards the US? By Murat Sofuoglu
– Shock and Awe: Who Attacked the Nord Stream Pipelines? By Sergey Vakulenko