The international community is awash with speculation and innuendo as to who destroyed sections of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea in late September 2022. The Kremlin remains steadfast in blaming the West, with the Russian Defense Ministry directly accusing British Naval forces in late October. Sweden and Denmark determined leaks led to the explosions, but stopped short of identifying how the leaks were caused (or who could cause them). The NATO Secretary General, again without identifying a culprit, went further than Sweden and Denmark calling the explosions an act of sabotage.
While there are many incentives which would deter Russia from sabotaging its own lucrative gas pipeline, we shouldn’t immediately disqualify the notion that Moscow could be behind this attack. We in the West find it inconceivable to attack our own infrastructure. This does not mean the Russians have the same reservations. In fact, many contend Moscow has a history of launching self-inflicted attacks used as a pretext for domestic political actions and international aggression. See the wave of apartment bombings across Russia in 1999. The following are four simple reasons that Vladimir Putin would sabotage Nord Stream.
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