According to Reuters tracking, a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane flew close to the Baltic Sea site of the Nord Stream 2 ruptured pipeline hours after it first emerged. This flight was routine, Washington claimed.
Russia’s Nord Stream 1 & 2 pipelines burst on September 26, releasing gas into the Baltic Sea, just off the coast of Denmark & Sweden. Police in many countries is investigating the incident after Seismologists detected explosions.
The type of rotating identification code used by such aircraft made it difficult to identify the plane’s identity immediately. However, the U.S. Navy confirmed that the plane was American when presented with data from Reuters.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Navy stated that the U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft seen in the tracking data performed a routine Baltic Sea maritime surveillance flight, which was unrelated to the Nord Stream pipeline leaks.
U.S. officials were asked if the intelligence they have gathered could be used to assist investigators investigating the rupture of the pipeline. Naval Forces Europe-Africa spokesperson, Capt. Tamara Lawrence stated that they do not have any additional information at the moment.
Although President Joe Biden spoke of eventually sending down divers, it’s not clear what role the U.S. military has, if any.
The data shows that the plane flew south from Bornholm shortly after 0100 GMT, heading towards northwestern Poland. It circled for approximately an hour before landing at 0244 GMT in the area where the gas leak was discovered.
Analysts say it flew 24kms (15 miles) close to the leak site. It circled once before flying towards Kaliningrad, Russia, which is a common focus of surveillance.
The Polish, Swedish and Danish ministries of defense were not immediately available to comment.
Flight data is missing for the period 0339 GMT to 0620 GMT. However, it flew back around 0700 GMT about 4 km from the leak site.
Reuters used a partial flight plan from Radarbox, a U.S.-based tracking site, and data provided by Flightradar24 in Sweden to reconstruct the P-8’s path.
Flightradar24 data showed that the plane took off and landed at Reykjanes peninsula, southwestern Iceland. This is where Keflavik Air Base is situated along with P-8 hangar facilities.
Analysts caution that it is difficult to determine the exact reason for specific military flight paths, but the data was available as the Baltic remained a front for Cold War-style tensions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Francis Tusa, a UK-based defense analyst, stated that the Baltic was a “very active sphere of confrontation” with lots of probing as well as an endless game of chess.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that the explosion of the pipeline was most likely the work of Russian special services. He cited information from Western allies.
While officials and governments from the West have avoided pointing a finger at Moscow so far, Russia has rejected any claims of responsibility and instead blames the United States and its allies.
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