A Danish patrol boat detected a Russian ship near the Nord Stream pipelines just days before the pipelines were sabotaged in September 2022, according to multiple media reports earlier this week.
The Russian vessel, which was identified to be a submarine support ship SS-750, was photographed before the incident occurred, the Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information reported on Thursday. The images were taken by the Danish patrol vessel P524 Nymfen four days prior to the Nord Stream blast.
A Russian ship carrying a submarine
The Russian vessel reportedly specializes in submarine operations and therefore carried a small submarine of the AS-26 Priz type, which is designed to carry out underwater operations like the evacuation of the crew of crashed submarines. For that reason, it has arms that can move cargo weighing up to 50 kilograms underwater.
"It would make absolute sense to use something like the 'AS-26' for such an attack," Danish corvette captain and military analyst Johannes Riber told the German news site t-online regarding this matter. "That would be the most plausible explanation so far for what happened to the Nord Stream pipeline."
The Norwegian defense command confirmed that 26 pictures were taken of the Russian vessel from a Danish patrol boat, four days before explosions ripped through three of the four Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines. The pipelines linked Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, The Guardian reports.
Dagbladet Information reported that prior information revealed that the defense command was in possession of over 112 images of Russian vessels in the area, but until now refused to provide access to the photos and did not specify which vessels were photographed.
In March of this year, T-online reported unusual activity in the vicinity of the pipelines in the days before the blast.
Danish and Swedish vessels navigated around the area of the blast, possibly because of increased activity by the Russian Baltic Fleet during the same period, with one of the ships spotted in the area around this time being the SS-750.
Perpetrator of blast yet to be identified
It has yet to be determined who was responsible for the Nord Stream blasts, with The Guardian reporting that criminal investigations are currently being conducted in the countries that border the damaged areas, which include Germany, Sweden and Denmark.
US intelligence from last month indicates that a pro-Ukrainian group may have been responsible for the attack on the pipelines, The New York Times reported, but the intelligence notes that there is no evidence of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky or his top lieutenants being involved. Ukrainian government and military officials stated that they had no role in the attack, and do not know who conducted it, the report says.