US helicopters fly above sites of Nord Stream blasts, leak as Europe suspects ‘sabotage’ | US News

US Air Force helicopters conducted a series of sorties in the area where the Nord Stream explosion and the mysterious gas leak occurred just days ago, much ahead of the accident that Europe claims may have been a ‘sabotage’, Oleg Makarov, military and defence analyst and co-founder of Vatfor claimed on Tuesday. The trajectory of the flight of the American helicopters with the callsign ‘FFAB123’ coincided with the site in the Baltic Sea where the major gas leaks subsequently took place on the Nord Stream pipelines to Europe via the Baltic region, Makarov said on Telegram.

Credit: Ватфор think tank

He detailed that the helicopters were spotted on September 2 and may have taken off from the USS Kearsarge (LHD-3), the third Wasp-class amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy. Makarov was discussing the “probable method” of sabotage at Nord Stream pipelines. 

Credit: Ватфор think tank

The Danish Air Force fighter pilots first spotted the three major gas leaks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. A Danish Royal Air Force fighter pilot took pictures of the leaks onboard an F-16 fighter operated by the air force’s interceptor response unit. The first leak was reported on Sept 25. This followed two other mysterious leakages the very next day. Three exclusion zones, both aerial and naval, were established around the accident. 

“The defense is supporting in connection with the authorities’ efforts regarding the leaks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea,” the Danish Air Force said in a statement published on Sep 27.

“The frigate Absalon and the environmental ship Gunnar Thorson are on their way to carry out water monitoring at the exclusion zones, and the Norwegian Defense Forces are also supporting with a helicopter capacity. In addition, the patrol ship Rota was in the area last night,” it continued. 

Military analyst Makarov, in an interview with Lenta.ru., said that when he tracked the helicopters on ads-b.nl, the military plane tracking site, he found that at least six US aircraft used the call sign FFAB123 and flew exactly along the Nord Stream pipelines area. “We noticed this interesting manoeuvre,” he stated. The military and Defense analysts stressed that he managed to track the tail number of three US helicopters and found that they were Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk, the multi-mission United States Navy helicopters. 

“By superimposing the FFAB123 route on the scheme of yesterday’s accident, we get a rather interesting result – the helicopter either flew along the Nord Stream-2 route, or even between the points at which the accident occurred,” the military analyst stated.

He continued that we should pay attention to US capabilities in the use of underwater drones that they demonstrated at the maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region— BALTOPS 22— which was held in Bornholm, the Danish island in the Baltic Sea off the south coast of Sweden back in June. Experimentation on new types of unmanned underwater vehicles was tested off the coast of Bornholm Island, Denmark for the NATO and regional partners to strengthen interoperability through a series of combined tactical manoeuvres. 

It is to be noted that the first explosion on the Nord Stream pipeline was recorded in the southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. Seismic activity measuring stations in Sweden and Denmark reported strong underwater explosions accompanied by hissing waveforms that resembled earthquakes of magnitude-2.3, and then the first leak was discovered, Swedish National Seismic Network lecturer Björn Lund told national TV SVT.  “There is no doubt that these were explosions,” the SNSN seismologist maintained. 

Poland blames Russia for sabotage, Kremlin accuses US of ‘terrorist attack’

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in his response that he suspected Russia of “deliberately damaging” the Nord Stream gas pipeline, according to RIA Novosti. Labelling the incident as an “amazing coincidence” Morawiecki said that the blasts were probably “a signal from Russia.” “We expect the assumptions to be confirmed. This is very worrisome, it shows what means, what mechanisms the Russians are able to turn to in order to further destabilize Europe,” the Polish Prime Minister said. 

Meanwhile, Poland’s former Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski awkwardly hailed the explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipeline on Twitter as he wrote: “A trifle, but nice.” He then went on to thank the Biden administration, sharing the US president’s address back in February about snubbing the pipeline project if Russia invaded Ukraine. “If Russia invades Ukraine, then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it,” Biden is heard saying in the clip. “But how will you do that, exactly, since…the project is in Germany’s control,” asks a reporter. US President responds: “I promise you, we will be able to do that.” 

All Ukrainian and Baltic sea states have opposed Nordstream’s construction for 20 years.

Now $20 billion of scrap metal lies at the bottom of the sea, another cost to Russia of its criminal decision to invade Ukraine.

Someone, @MFA_Russia, did a special maintenance operation.

— Radek Sikorski MEP (@radeksikorski) September 27, 2022

BTW, there’s no shortage of pipeline capacity for taking gas from Russia to Western Europe, including Germany. Nordstream’s only logic was for Putin to be able to blackmail or wage war on Eastern Europe with impunity.

— Radek Sikorski MEP (@radeksikorski) September 27, 2022

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova shared the tweet of the Member of the European Parliament and ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Radoslaw Sikorsky, questioning his thanks to the US as she asked on Telegram: “Is this an official statement about a terrorist attack?” 

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