It is increasingly clear that the destruction of part of the Kerch-Crimea bridge and the destruction of three strands of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines required highly sophisticated technology and the skill of secret operators.
According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) investigation, the truck bomb that destroyed part of the Kerch Strait Crimea bridge was concealed in 22 pallets of plastic film rolls weighing a total of 22,770 kilos.
These big blast attacks required highly sophisticated technology and ultra-skilled secret operators that only a few nations posses.
The Russians blame the Secret Service of Ukraine (SSU), but Kiev would have needed considerable professional help to design such a huge weapon.
The biggest bunker buster in the US inventory, for example, is the GBU-57 A/B at 14,000 kilograms. Experts would have known that to knock out the bridge they needed something even more powerful.
The investigative journalism site Greyzone said on October 10 that the British Secret Service (MI-6) drew up a plan last April 2021 to blow up the Kerch Bridge and shared the plan with Ukraine.
As Greyzone reported, the British plan was to bring in explosives by sea, perhaps using underwater vehicles or divers, and blow away the main bridge supports.
An alternative, the British allegedly recommended, was to use cruise missiles – but doing so would remove any possibility of plausible deniability.
The Russians may have known about the plan. Interestingly, they positioned a special force to guard against an underwater attack and moved an S-300 air defense system from Syria to Crimea to deal with a possible cruise missile strike.
Assuming Greyzone is accurate, the Russian countermeasures forced an alternative plan.
Perhaps, though with no evidence yet to support the thesis, British or American experts were commissioned to determine the scale of the explosion needed to blow the bridge from the roadway.
For the record, Ukrainian cruise missiles lack both the accuracy and destructive power needed for such an attack. HIMARS, which has been supplied to Ukraine, might be capable of damaging the bridge (but not destroying it) and is accurate.
But its 90-kilogram warhead is too small to demolish a structure as large as the Kerch Bridge. Any sensible Russian should have spotted the cruise missile part of the British proposal as a possible fake if Moscow managed to get its hands on the report.
Little is known about how the massive amount of explosives was assembled, exactly where, and how it was done in secret – other than the FSB statement that the shipment originated in the nearby Ukrainian city of Odessa.
While the Russians appear to have been reading Ukraine’s mail, they entirely missed the possibility of a truck bomb. Is it possible that the Greyzone-reported British-devised plan was, in its entirety, a ruse intended to mislead the Russians?
The organizers of the bridge bombing put together a concealed but highly sophisticated operation. Working backward, it looks like this: There were two trucks. The first went from Ukraine across Turkey, through Armenia and Georgia, and to the border of Russia.
The explosives were inside, wrapped to hide from Russia’s X-ray inspection system on the border.
There is a general belief that the trucker who picked up the load had no idea he was hauling explosives, meaning that the bomb in the truck was detonated by radio from a remote location. The truck driver was killed in the blast.
Nord Stream Operation
The attack on the Nord Stream pipelines also suggests a sophisticated operation but one that could have gone partly wrong.
The raw facts: The first explosion, near the Danish island of Bornholm, happened at approximately 2:03 am local time on September 26, 2022.
Gazprom, the Russian pipeline operator, reported the possibility of a leak when pipeline pressure dropped at 8:30 am. It was not until approximately 1:00 pm that the Danish air force sent F-16’s to investigate. Those jets spotted the gas leak on the sea’s surface.
The first explosion was relatively small and picked up seismically, as was the sound of escaping methane gas. At 7:04 pm a much larger explosion occurred along the pipeline route in the Swedish Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
According to seismic experts, this blast was greater than 100 kilograms and less than 200 kilograms, equivalent to a 2.3 magnitude earthquake.
But why was the second explosion, hours later, so large when a smaller explosion clearly had already compromised the pipeline?
Possibly, the results of the Bornholm explosion were not enough to satisfy the perpetrators and they tried again, this time in the Swedish ADIZ.
The second mission could conceivably have consisted of a larger bomb – or could have created what was, in fact, a third explosion by hitting an old sea mine lingering on the seabed near the pipeline.
The Baltic Sea is a disaster area when it comes to un-exploded mines and munitions, including chemical weapons, left there after World War I and II. Approximately 80,000 German and Russian-moored sea mines, most in unknown locations, litter the sea bottom.
This created serious concerns when the first Nord Stream pipeline was under development. While care was taken to try to avoid them, many are buried under sand and still others have broken free from their moorings and moved far from where they were originally sited.
Northern Europeans have spent a great deal of effort trying to remove ordnance from the Baltic Sea, but what they recover is a tiny fraction of what remains.
Denmark is now even complaining that its effort to investigate the first underwater explosion off Bornholm is being hindered by old un-exploded mines and ordnance.
Like the operation carried out against the Kerch Bridge, the sabotage attacks of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were a sophisticated operation that almost certainly involved underwater devices or professional divers.
A SeaFox mine-disposal unmanned underwater vehicle manufactured by the German company Atlas Elektronik’s division located in Maine, for example, can be launched from a surface vessel including the rapidly inflated boats (RIB) often used by US Navy SEALS.
The British, Germans, Swedes, Danes, Poles and others have similar systems; even the Ukrainians have frogmen.
Since it is unlikely any saboteur stayed around to witness the explosions, the devices used for both attacks had to have been planted earlier, equipped either with timing devices or capable of receiving remote signals.
That suggests significant planning and advanced technological capabilities executed by experienced operators.
A US Navy P-8 antisubmarine aircraft flew from Naval Air Station Keflavik over the blast area at 3:00 am local time on the day of the blast. The plane proceeded to Poland where it was air-refueled by a C-130. It returned to Bornholm at 4:44 am.
According to tracking data, it made a number of loops around the area and then headed toward the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. There is no flight data available between 5:39 am and 8:20 am local time, probably because the P-8’s transponder was turned off.
The US Navy acknowledged the first overflight of Bornholm and said it was a normal mission and had nothing to do with the pipelines. But whoever carried out the attacks, which is still unclear, launched their assaults with the utmost secrecy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin claims it was an operation by the Anglo-Saxons (meaning the USA and UK).
The Russians are complaining that they have been deliberately excluded from the Swedish-run investigation, although the Swedes invited the US to participate.
Sweden has also cut off the Germans and Danes from a planned joint investigation, citing security secrecy, but declared Russian could not have been involved, because it had no access to the vicinity at the time of the explosion.
As the Kerch Bridge and Nord Stream blasts indicate, war by other means involving highly secret operations with significant organizational and technological skill is now underway.
And there are few nations that have the experience, resources and capability, including the organizational skills, to manage and successfully launch such attacks.
Asia Times / ABC Flash Point Baltic Sea Blog News 2022.
Career criminals @ work !