London Court to Weigh in on Nord Stream Explosion

A London High Court will weigh in on the causes of the 2022 Nord Stream pipeline explosion. That is after the pipelines’ insurers filed their defence on Tuesday claiming the explosions were the act of “a government.”

In late September 2022, the Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline known as Nord Stream was blown apart on the floor of the Baltic Sea. It marked a dramatic end to a project that, at full capacity, could have delivered more than half of Russia’s exported gas to Germany.

The blasts effectively locked EU policy-makers into their commitment to divorce themselves from Russian gas. From September, Russia-to-EU gas imports fell from US $4.6 billion per month to $1.5 billion by December 2023.

Since the blast, Western governments have doggedly plead ignorance about its cause.

The explosions occurred near the boundary of Sweden and Denmark’s respective maritime economic zones. Both countries quietly closed their investigations in February 2024 without making their findings public.

Vladimir Putin blamed the Anglosphere. Russia called for a UN Security Council investigation, but this was shut down by the Western representatives.

US opposition to the pipeline was no secret. Indeed, in 2019 the White House implemented sanctions on any company assisting the construction and financing of Nord Stream 2. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh – famed for his reporting on My Lai, Watergate and Abu Ghraib – described a joint Norwegian/US sabotage operation acting under orders from the Biden White House.

For its part, the White House called the report “complete fiction.” Anonymous “US officials” quoted in the NY Times suggested rogue Ukrainians carried out the operation and say the US warned European allies about a possible sabotage in June 2022.

Now, it appears the High Court in London will have to weigh in on the matter, at least on the balance of probabilities. The Nord Stream pipelines’ owners are suing their insurers for 400 million euros, after they refused to pay out.

In their defence filed on Tuesday, the insurers say the damage “could only have (or at least was more likely than not to have) to have been inflicted by or under the orders of a government.” As a military event that was part of the “war,” “invasion” and “hostilities,” the insurers claim the policy is void.

The insurers also claim that being forced to pay out the policy – which would necessitate payment to Russian stakeholders – may violate their legal obligations under the sanctions regime.

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