A Russian crane ship, the SS-750, was reportedly spotted near the Nord Stream gas pipeline four days before the pipeline explosion on 26 September 2022, according to Denmark’s Armed Forces. The armed forces confirmed that a Danish patrol boat captured 26 photos of the Russian vessel, which is designed for underwater operations and has an AS-26 Priz mini-submarine on board, in the area east of Bornholm Island on 22 September 2022.
This is the first time the Danish Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the ship was an SS-750 with a mini-submarine on board. However, the ministry has refused to share the photos of the Russian special vessel, as they are “intelligence” images involved in “intelligence operations”.
Earlier, German media outlet T-Online and Open Source Intelligence analyst Oliver Alexander reported that the SS-750 was one of six Russian military ships that might have been in the area in the days leading up to the Nord Stream explosion. Their conclusion relied on anonymous sources and satellite images showing that the SS-750 left the port in Kaliningrad (Russia) at the same time as the Aleksandr Frolov and SB-123 ships.
The New York Times, in an earlier article, cited sources and intelligence data indicating that several non-government organisations, which included both Russians and Ukrainians, could be behind the Nord Stream gas pipeline explosion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denied the involvement of Ukraine in the explosions and suggested investigating who could be interested in spreading this information.
The incident once again highlights the growing tensions between Russia and Europe, with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline becoming a major point of contention. The pipeline, which is set to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany, has faced criticism from the United States and several European countries, who argue that it will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and weaken Ukraine’s role in the energy market.
Journalists have been working hard to uncover the truth behind the Nord Stream explosion, but their efforts have been hampered by a lack of transparency and cooperation from authorities. It takes courage to report on such sensitive issues, and the journalists who do so are fighting on the frontline of truth and accountability. It is essential that their work is supported and valued.