Last year, on October 12, the 1st maritime security conference "Azov-2021" was held in Kyiv. It was there that Center "Strategy XXI" presented a report on Russian military underwater activity in the Baltic Sea in the context of NS2. The link to the report is here.
A few days later, the weekly magazine "Dzerkalo Tyzhnya" published our joint article with Andrii Ryzhenko "How Russia plans to use Nord Stream-2 for intelligence purposes. Will NATO lose dominance in the Baltics? ," which discussed the military aspects of using the civil gas transport infrastructure of both flows Available for reading here.
This report and article caused a stir, but as further communication with European colleagues showed, understanding of the problem of Russian underwater activity was only in Poland and Lithuania, German experts remained skeptical. And in NATO in general, too. There is some understanding among the British and Americans, but not more than that. Security certification of Russian flows by NATO, as proposed by us, was not carried out. Now we see the consequences.
In the future, attention should be paid to what will happen to the gas pipelines going to the EU from Norway through the North Sea and from Algeria through the Mediterranean. And also with other marine communications - fiber-optic communication lines. There are a lot of them in the Baltic:) This is exactly what I recently reported for a conference in Rzeszów, Poland.
What happened with Putin's flows in the Baltic should be considered not through the false prism of "war in Ukraine", but through the prism of the war in Europe, which is being waged by Russia against the EU and NATO using hybrid methods. The Baltic Sea is already a theater of military operations, a sea which is supposedly a NATO sea after the admission of Sweden and Finland to the Alliance.
After monitoring the traditional abstract and amorphous reaction from the EU and individual countries regarding who could sabotage the Baltic and being completely satisfied with the streamlined "a certain state" from the European Commission, Moscow moved on to the next point of the plan. They talked about the possibility of repairing the gas pipeline, but with an emphasis on the fact that it will be a long-term process - six months to a year, according to Duma deputy, head of the PEK committee Pavel Zavalny. It is necessary to make a special caisson, find a crane vessel with a large carrying capacity, etc.
In fact, in the near future it will "suddenly become clear" that there are opportunities for faster repairs, but the problem will be, as in the case of the Siemens turbines in Canada, in Western sanctions. Like, lift the sanctions and Gazprom will quickly overcome the consequences of sabotage by "a certain state".
The fact is that the equipment for repairing NS1 does exist. A special repair hydraulic clamp was manufactured in 2016 by order of the operator Nord Stream AG by the American company "Oil States Industries" (Houston, Texas). The hydraulic clamp is 10 m long, 2.5 m wide, 4 m high, and weighs more than 106 tons. This is the world's largest repair collar with a design life of 50 years, made specifically for NS1. The place of permanent long-term storage of the clamp is the repair base of the Norwegian "Statoil" (now Equinor) in Haugesund. "Nord Stream AG" pathetically stated that the gas pipeline "is fully prepared for carrying out any repair works, despite the low probability of their need. The need for repairs of the Nord Stream gas pipeline is not expected during the entire period of its operation... The design with a variable diameter allows use the clamp at any point of the gas pipeline. Fastening the two halves of the clamp around the pipeline allows you to restore its full functionality on a three-meter section. The clamp is secured with the help of hydraulic clamps at both ends of the device... Even with a small probability of the need for repair, the presence and installation of the clamp will allow to restore the full operational capacity of the Nord Stream gas pipeline as soon as possible." Well, it didn't happen as expected)
But, of course, in the conditions of sanctions, the delivery of this American equipment from the Norwegian storage base is impossible without violating the sanctions regime. And this is where the Kremlin provokes tensions between the US and Norway on the one hand and the EU and Germany on the other. Both the US and Norway, as well as Canada in the case of turbines, assume that sanctions regimes must be followed. But how can you not come to the aid of Europeans! Will Norway and the USA, which are not members of the EU, deny Europeans solidarity?!
Russia also hopes that, as in the case of the Siemens turbines in Canada, Germany will start calling for assistance from the USA and Norway in providing equipment in order to complete the repairs and receive gas as soon as possible. And if they refuse, then Moscow will point the finger at Washington, saying, now you see who is the author of the sabotage - he is the one who refuses help to you, the Germans and the entire EU, and they themselves are unable to give more gas. Well, "grand piano in the bushes" - so far the second thread of NS2 is functional with a proposal to launch it as soon as possible to save the Germans from the cold.