Putins ghost fleet preparing sabotage in the North Sea

Putin’s ghost fleet “preparing sabotage in the North Sea”

Awaiting the land offensive, amid smoke screens and preparations, the sea front returns to the fore. To suggest it again “in plain language” – because in fact it never went away – more recent developments and others are more distant.

Undersea cables cut in Shetland, others damaged by malicious actions near Svalbard, finally in Norway the most sensational and mysterious event related to the blast-hit Nord Stream gas pipeline. The series of episodes spanning over time demonstrated the fragility of the system, which was subjected to raids with economic consequences. And part of the threat, as journalistic research by Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish broadcasters shows, comes from Russia. For months, the movements of “fishing boats” and the research vessel “Admiral Vladimirsky” in the North Atlantic off the coast of Scotland were tracked in what were considered strategic quadrants.

According to the investigation, the Russians want to create a database of targets: The list would include wind energy, communications infrastructure and oil assets. In the event of a worsening of the current crisis and a clash with NATO, Putin’s navy could launch “covert” operations – including under water – to disable key nodes. Reconnaissance is done with a “ghost” flotilla – so defined because it shuts down the transmitter – but also more clearly under the “eyes” of the recon officers. Difficult to hide large hulls.

The presence of the Russian offshore tugboat Chiker between Shetland and Norway has also been reported in recent days. It’s an unusual “boat”: it has historically performed missions off US bases (East Coast) and in the Caribbean, can conduct rescue operations for combat swimmers/divers, and often accompanies nuclear submarines. On board equipment and a crew of 50 men plus technical staff. The Chiker was observed cruising north of Unst, a site where a new British space center is to be built by Lockheed, but also parallel to a pipeline.

In the same area, 4 large fishing vessels still operate from Russia, but this is a legitimate presence due to agreements, but of course it can raise suspicions. Or in any case, it is used to underline what is happening in ever-crowded waters. Experts close to Britain’s Royal Navy have released new analyzes of the Northern Fleet’s submarine Sharks patrols at the same time as the warning signals. They quietly rotate on the European side of the Atlantic, but also push their way to the other “side”, trying to escape the alliance sieve and performing long-range tasks.

Great attention is paid to the Yasen-class submarine, which is also equipped with Zircon hypersonic missiles, one of the weapons that Vladimir Putin has repeatedly announced as evidence of a modern arsenal. Until September a year ago, the scenarios included maneuvers “under” the sea, but the attack on Nord Stream turned it into a concrete threat. With one variable: To date, we have many versions, many suspects, and no certainty as to who is responsible. Each side not only blames the other side, but also protects their secrets and studies surprises.