After months of investigation, many Western officials 'say privately' Russia may not be behind Nord Stream undersea gas pipeline explosions, unveiled the Washington Post on Wednesday .
““There is no evidence at this stage that Russia was behind the sabotage”, said an unnamed EU official, reports the American daily, who claims that the “condemnation from Moscow was swift and widespread”.
Nowadays, investigation by experts with knowledge of 'forensic details' failed to 'conclusively link Russia to attack', recalls the newspaper which underlines, ensuite, US eavesdropping on “communications from Russian military officials and forces”, which did not make it possible to prove the responsibility of Russia in the incident. “Analysts have not heard or read any statements from the Russian side taking credit or suggesting they were trying to cover up their involvement”, details the Washington Post.
Read alsoAfter the sabotages of Nord Stream, should France be worried about its submarine cables ?
Investigators combed through debris and analyzed explosives residue recovered from the bed of the Baltic Sea. Given the relatively shallow depth of the damaged pipes, “different actors could have carried out the attack”, continues the newspaper. “Submersible drones” or “surface ships” may have caused the incident.
Interviewed by the Washington Post, a “German government official, who conducts his own investigation, said explosives appeared to have been placed outside the structures”. For seismologists, three explosions sounded the 26 september, causing four leaks on Nord Stream pipes 1 et 2. This accident resulted in one of the largest releases of methane.
However, “Russia remains a major suspect” in view of its recent actions of bombing civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. By attacking Nord Stream, the Kremlin could have sought to destabilize “the determination of NATO” and to weaken the “allies who depend on Russian energy sources”.
But for some "skeptics", 'Moscow had little to gain from damaging gas pipelines' as they generated 'billions of dollars in annual revenue'. Throughout Vladimir Putin's tenure, energy is used as an “instrument of political and economic leverage”. Kremlin delights in waving threat of cuts to intimidate countries 'into meeting its goals'.
Thereby, many “officials regretted that so many world leaders pointed the finger at Moscow without considering other countries, as well as extremist groups, who might have the ability and motive to carry out the attack.”.
Quick accusations against Russia
Since the 30 september, four days after the explosions, US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, had told the BBC it 'appeared' Russia was to blame. “It is highly unlikely that these incidents are a coincidence”, she added.
On his side, German Economy Minister, Robert Habeck, had also hinted that Russia, was responsible for the explosions. "The Russia that says 'It wasn't us’ it's like saying 'I'm not the thief'", Habeck told reporters in early October.
Read alsoWar in Ukraine : does Russia really have no interest in sabotaging the Nord Stream gas pipelines ?
Ultimately, an adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky was quick to call the explosions “a Russian-planned terrorist attack and an act of aggression against [the European Union]».
Since the incident, attribution of explosions is difficult. The 11 last november, the Kremlin accused the UK of being behind the sabotage. “Our intelligence services have evidence to suggest the attack was directed and coordinated by British military specialists”, spokesman for the Russian presidency told the press, Dmitry Peskov. In response, the British Defense had denounced “false assertions”.
The prospect that the explosions will never be definitively attributed is a problem for countries like Norway, who own 9000 kilometers of underwater gas pipelines to Europe. A Norwegian official said his country was trying to tighten security around its own pipes and wider critical infrastructure. The Nordic country is also working with the UK, France and Germany to “intensify naval patrols” and try to “maintain the flow of oil and gas in the event of a new attack”.
Norway is also investigating the “appearance of unidentified aerial drones” around its oil and gas installations during the Nord Stream attacks.