On Wednesday, investigative journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh published a report saying US Navy divers during NATO Baltops exercises in the summer of 2022 planted explosives to destroy the Nord Stream pipelines, which Norway activated three months later. According to the report, US President Joe Biden decided to sabotage the Nord Streams after more than nine months of secret discussions with the national security team.
Flightradar24 data analyzed by Sputnik shows that, between June 8 and June 16 of last year, German and US maritime surveillance aircraft P-3 Orion and P-8 Poseidon carried out regular flights over the sites of future Nord Stream explosions.
The military aircraft descended to low altitudes and turned off transponders in almost every flight, so some of their trajectories remained unrecorded.
On June 8, the American Poseidon aircraft circled over the sites of three future explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines northeast of Bornholm Island. The German P-3 Orion aircraft then flew over a future blast site east of the island. On June 9, the Poseidon aircraft flew over the sites northeast and east of Bornholm.
From June 11 to June 15, the US Poseidon aircraft circled precisely over the sites of future Nord Stream sabotage acts every day, often making many turns and loops at low altitude. On June 16, the German P-3 Orion flew over the area.
The minimum flight altitude of US and German military aircraft over the Baltic Sea around the location of the gas pipelines was less than 600 meters (0.4 miles). However, it could have been even lower in those parts of the flights that were not recorded by the open monitoring system.
According to the source, the US plane flew from the Atlantic to Bornholm Island after passing over Denmark. Then, the aircraft refueled over Poland from the KS-135R refueling plane.
After the refueling, the US aircraft returned to Bornholm and, at about 04:45 Summer European Time (02:45 GMT), made a full circle exactly over the explosion area and started to descend. Turning to the right and moving away from the scene, the plane gradually descended from an altitude of 7,300 meters to 2,200 meters and then disappeared from the radar after switching off the transponder.
Igor Korotchenko, the head of the Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade, has told Sputnik that the flight path of the aircraft on Flightradar24 supports the investigation of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh on the blowing up of the Nord Stream pipelines.
“Taking into account that the route of American P-8A Poseidon was calculated with refueling over Poland and it was necessary to synchronize all these moments, we can say that its arrival at the given time — immediately after the attack — indicates the scheduled flight and, therefore, is another confirmation of the version put forward by American journalist Hersh of the reasons and circumstances of the attack,” Korotchenko said.
“This once again proves the involvement of official US government agencies in this sabotage.”
On September 26, 2022, three of the four strings of the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines were damaged after an underwater blast. The pipeline’s operator Nord Stream AG reported that the damage was unprecedented and it was impossible to estimate the timeframe for repairs.
Germany, Denmark, and Sweden launched separate investigations into the suspected sabotage, with German media reporting trust issues among the three EU nations. The Russian chief prosecutor’s office said it had opened an inquiry into possible international terrorism.
Originally published by Sputnik International