The military operation on Monday night which fired munitions to blow holes in the Nord Stream I and Nord Stream II pipelines on the Baltic Sea floor, near Bornholm Island, was executed by the Polish Navy and special forces.
It was aided by the Danish and Swedish military; planned and coordinated with US intelligence and technical support; and approved by the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
The operation is a repeat of the Bornholm Bash operation of April 2021, which attempted to sabotage Russian vessels laying the gas pipes, but ended in ignominious retreat by the Polish forces. That was a direct attack on Russia. This time the attack is targeting the Germans, especially the business and union lobby and the East German voters, with a scheme to blame Moscow for the troubles they already have — and their troubles to come with winter.
Morawiecki is bluffing. “It is a very strange coincidence,” he has announced, “that on the same day that the Baltic Gas Pipeline opens, someone is most likely committing an act of sabotage. This shows what means the Russians can resort to in order to destabilize Europe. They are to blame for the very high gas prices”. The truth bubbling up from the seabed at Bornholm is the opposite of what Morawiecki says.
But the political value to Morawiecki, already running for the Polish election in eleven months’ time, is his government’s claim to have solved all of Poland’s needs for gas and electricity through the winter — when he knows that won’t come true.
Inaugurating the 21-year old Baltic Pipe project from the Norwegian and Danish gas networks, Morawiecki announced: “This gas pipeline is the end of the era of dependence on Russian gas. It is also a gas pipeline of security, sovereignty and freedom not only for Polish, but in the future, also for others…[Opposition Civic Platform leader Donald] Tusk’s government preferred Russian gas. They wanted to conclude a deal with the Russians even by 2045…thanks to the Baltic Pipe, extraction from Polish deposits, LNG supply from the USA and Qatar, as well as interconnection with its neighbours, Poland is now secured in terms of gas supplies.”
Civic Platform’s former defence and foreign minister Radek Sikorski also celebrated the Bornholm Blow-up. “As we say in Polish, a small thing, but so much joy”. “Thank you USA,” Sikorski added, diverting the credit for the operation, away from domestic rival Morawiecki to President Joseph Biden; he had publicly threatened to sabotage the line in February. Biden’s ambassador in Warsaw is also backing Sikorski’s Civic Platform party to replace Morawiecki next year.
The attack not only escalates the Polish election campaign. It also continues the Morawiecki government’s plan to attack Germany, first by reviving the reparations claim for the invasion and occupation of 1939-45; and second, by targeting alleged German complicity, corruption, and appeasement in the Russian scheme to rule Europe at Poland’s expense. .
“The appeasement policy towards Putin”, announced PISM, the official government think tank in Warsaw in June, “is part of an American attempt to free itself from its obligations of maintaining peace in Europe. The bargain is that Americans will allow Putin to finish building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in exchange for Putin’s commitment not use it to blackmail Eastern Europe. Sounds convincing? Sounds like something you heard before?
It’s not without reason that Winston Churchill commented on the American decision-making process: ‘Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted.’ However, by pursuing such a policy now, the Biden administration takes even more responsibility for the security of Europe, including Ukraine, which is the stake for subsequent American mistakes.”
“Where does this place Poland? Almost 18 years ago the Federal Republic of Germany, our European ally, decided to prioritize its own business interests with Putin’s Russia over solidarity and cooperation with allies in Central Europe. It was a wrong decision to make and all Polish governments – regardless of political differences – communicated this clearly and forcefully to Berlin. But since Putin succeeded in corrupting the German elite and already decided to pay the price of infamy, ignoring the Polish objections was the only strategy Germany was left with.”
The explosions at Bornholm are the new Polish strike for war in Europe against Chancellor Olaf Scholz. So far the Chancellery in Berlin is silent, tellingly.
Follow on the map where the Bornholm Blow-up – three simultaneous bomb or torpedo explosions – was arranged.
The Nord Stream operating company posted first notice of the attack on its website on the evening of September 26. “Tonight [Swiss time] the dispatchers of the Nord Stream 1 control centre registered a pressure drop on both lines of the gas pipeline. The reasons are being investigated.”
The following morning the company added: “The significant pressure drop caused by the gas leak on both lines of the gas pipeline registered yesterday leads to a strong assumption of the pipeline physical damage. Nord Stream AG immediately informed the relevant coast guards about the incident. The positions of two assumed damages have been identified and are located north-east from Bornholm in Swedish and Danish EEZ, respectively.
Currently the Swedish and Danish maritime authorities established a 5nm safety zone around the identified locations (Nautical information | Danish Maritime Authority (dma.dk)). Nord Stream AG has started mobilization of all necessary resources for a survey campaign to assess the damages in cooperation exchange with relevant local authorities. Currently, it is not possible to estimate a timeframe for restoring the gas transport infrastructure. The causes of the incident will be clarified as a result of the investigation.” The European sanctions regime blocked company officials from investigating at the site.
Russian satellite, aviation, and electronic monitoring of the area is comprehensive; Ukrainian double-agents corroborate. The Russian account of what happened is provided in this summary of open sources by Gazeta.ru. The military preparations in the days and hours before the blasts have not been disclosed, yet.
“The operator company Nord Stream said that at the same time destruction was recorded on three lines of the offshore gas pipelines Nord Stream and Nord Stream–2. ‘The destruction that occurred in one day simultaneously on three lines of offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented. It is impossible to estimate the time frame for restoring the operability of the gas transportation infrastructure,’ the operator of Nord Stream noted.”
“The Kremlin is concerned about the situation. ‘This is very disturbing news. We are talking about some kind of destruction in the pipe of an unclear nature in the Danish economic zone,’ said Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin spokesman stressed that the pressure in the gas pipelines had dropped significantly:
‘This is a completely unprecedented situation that requires urgent investigation.’ Peskov noted that the nature of the destruction is unknown. Sabotage is not excluded. ‘No option can be ruled out now. Obviously, there is some kind of destruction of the pipe. And what was the reason – before the results of the research appear, it is impossible to exclude any option,’ Putin’s press secretary added.”
“The opinion that the destruction occurred because of someone’s ‘ill will’ was expressed earlier by the deputy head of the National Energy Security Fund Alexei Grivach. ‘If a leak on one line could still be an accident, the consequence of a defect or an involuntary impact, then on three [lines] it is clearly someone’s ill will. Well, who is fighting with Russian gas in Europe is not really hiding,’ RIA Novosti quotes him as saying. Grivach believes that it will take months to repair the gas pipeline lines. ‘
The representative of the operator company Ulrich Lissek drew attention to the fact that it is difficult to determine the causes of the pressure drop due to ‘the sanctions regime and the lack of personnel on the ground.’ On the night of September 26, a leak occurred on one of the lines of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline. According to the representative of Nord Stream 2 AG, Ulrich Lissek, ‘in some place’ along the pipeline, ‘most likely a hole has appeared.’
He said that in normal mode, the pressure inside the gas pipeline lines ‘is 105 bar“, but on the German segment it has decreased to 7 bar. The Danish Maritime Administration has discovered damage to a gas pipeline near the island of Bornholm. Presumably, the alleged point of emergency is located in the exclusive economic zone – just beyond the border of the territorial waters of Denmark. The leak was located at the position of 54 °52.60′ north latitude— 015 ° 24.60′ east longitude, writes RBK.”
For RBK’s coverage, including surface filming by the Danes of gas bubbling above the pipeline holes, click.
This is what the government in Warsaw arranged at Bornholm a year and five months ago. At that time Morawiecki was prime minister; the German chancellor was Angela Merkel. The official Warsaw innuendo in Merkel’s direction was more restrained than it is now against Scholz.
Then the Polish spokesman for the security and intelligence services, Stanislaw Żaryn, launched a stream of accusations on his Twitter account. According to Zaryn, Russian public disclosure of the Baltic engagements was “information warfare” intended as a “pretext for launching activities aimed at enhancing its military presence in the Baltic region”. He went on: “#NordStream2 may be used by #Russia as a pretext for the deployment of its naval forces along pipeline’s route. This may lead to a partial closure of the Baltic Sea.”
Now Zaryn’s innuendo is plainer. What Zaryn means to say is that Germany “jeopardizes the security of Poland”.
Western propaganda media have tried to create the appearance of German government approval for the Polish attack.
“Denmark, Germany and Poland warn of ‘sabotage’ after Nord Stream leaks”, the Financial Times, the Japanese platform in London, headlined: “Berlin says Russia’s involvement cannot be excluded after damage to gas pipelines at centre of Europe’s energy crisis.” Scholz and his ministers were not quoted. Instead, low-ranking, anonymous “German officials said there was concern in Berlin that the sudden loss of pressure in both pipelines could be the result of a ‘targeted attack’. They added that Russia’s involvement could ‘not be excluded’, but said Germany was not involved in the investigation being run by Denmark and Sweden.”
In Washington, the local newspaper claimed “European leaders blame Russian ‘sabotage’ after Nord Stream explosions”, quoting Danes, Swedes, Poles, Ukrainians, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and “five European officials with direct knowledge of security discussions [who] said there was a widespread assumption that Russia was behind the incident. Only Russia had the motivation, the submersible equipment and the capability, several of them said.” Not a single German government official could be found to speak by the newspaper’s Berlin bureau.
The temptation for Morawiecki to break out of the political stalemate he and his Law and Justice (PiS) party have been in since June has also been driven by fear that, following the fresh Russian reinforcements, the Ukrainian battlefield will move west and south; Ukrainian electric light and heat will be cut off; and millions of fresh refugees will attempt to cross into Poland again.
Tracking polls for Polish voter intentions illustrate the flat lines for the two leading parties, and the potential growth of the left and right minority parties. On September 1, the PiS party leader launched the Polish reparations attack on Germany, declaring “we have also taken the decision as to the further steps…We will turn to Germany to open negotiations on the reparations.” The move didn’t shift the party’s poll rating. The Bornholm Blow-up was already in planning for three weeks later.
Independent Warsaw political analyst Stanislas Balcerac comments: “Poland is not a place where brainstorms happen. Only the brainless Sikkie [Sikorski] is having his day.”
EU or NATO members are not as stable as they are portraying themselves to the global community. There are cracks within the exceptionalist collective.
Poland’s animosity against Germany dates back some 70+ years ago.
Poland demands nearly $1.3 trillion in WWII damages from Germany https://t.co/iG8cFUNFmZ— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) October 4, 2022