A United States reconnaissance aircraft has been observed flying near the site of the damaged Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea only hours after the first leakage emerged. According to tracking reviewed by Reuters, this was a flight Washington said was routine.
This was reported by web services provider Yahoo Finance.
On 26 September, leakages on North Stream pipeline 1 and 2, off the coast of Denmark and Sweden, were discovered. At the same time, both Swedish and Danish seismologists registered explosions in the affected area and authorities of both countries has initiated investigations.
Upon being presented with data by Reuters, the United States Navy admitted the aircraft was American although, until then, had said the identification of the flight could not be immediately established due to a specific type of rotating identification code.
Reuters has used a partial flight map from American tracking website Radarbox, which was incorporated with data provided by Swedish Flightradar24 to reconstruct the aircrafts route.
Flying from Iceland, the flight continued to Poland where it performed regular race-trackshaped circuits thereafter breaking away towards the area in which North Stream pipelines are located.
– The United States Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft shown in the tracking data conducted a routine Baltic Sea maritime reconnaissance flight, unrelated to the leaks from the North Stream pipelines, said a Unites States Navy spokesperson.
The data shows the aircraft flying South of Bornholm a few minutes past 01:00 GMT whereafter it headed towards Northeastern Poland, circling for about an hour above land. The aircraft then headed to the area of the gas leaks at around 02:44 GMT. It hanged around – circling once – as close as 24 kilometers to the site of the leakages and flew towards the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. According to Yahoo Finance, analysts says Kaliningrad is a frequent focus of surveillance.
Flight data is missing between 03:39 GMT and 06:20 GMT. On its way back at around 07:00 GMT, the plane flew 4 kilometers North of the gas leak area.
The aircraft took off and landed at Reykjanes peninsular in Southwestern Iceland.
Yahoo Finance informs analysts has pointed to the fact it is often impossible to establish, with certainty, the reason behind military flight paths as the Baltic is a very active area. This is especially the case in this time of tensions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Strains keep building up following the detection of North Stream gas leakages. Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, said it was a deliberate act, while Sweden declared sabotage upon conducting an underwater investigation, after which it announced to have performed seizures. Additionally, Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Moraweicki, said the rupture on the pipeline was most likely the work of Russian special services, while Russia denied all allegations and pointed the finger at the United States. An accusation Washington deemed “ridiculous”.