Deep beneath the Baltic Sea, a remotely controlled submarine releases a mine which nestles beside a gas pipeline.
Other mines are laid at critical junctures along hundreds of miles of piping connecting Russia and Germany. They contain the equivalent of hundreds of pounds of TNT.
When they are detonated – either by a timing device or remotely from a secret control room – the aftershocks are felt 800 miles away and seismologists liken the blasts to earthquakes.
Within seconds Nord Stream 1 and 2 begin to leak. Within days, millions of cubic metres of natural gas have been released into Danish and Swedish waters.
Mission accomplished for whoever instigated this unprecedented act of industrial terrorism.
But was it also the staggering act of self-sabotage by Vladimir Putin that the world assumes it to have been?
After all, the president who threatened to ‘end’ Nord Stream earlier this year resides not in the Kremlin but the White House. US President Joe Biden could not have been clearer when, in early February, he promised to bring Nord Stream ‘to an end’ should Russian troops and tanks enter Ukraine.