Pro-Ukrainian Group May Be Behind Sabotaged Nord Stream Pipelines

by Wall Street Rebel - Michael London | 03/07/2023 12:52 PM
Pro-Ukrainian Group May Be Behind Sabotaged Nord Stream Pipelines

The latest intelligence reports provide what amounts to the first important clue as to who was responsible for the assault on the pipelines that delivered natural gas from Russia to Europe via the Nord Stream system.


The assault on the Nord Stream pipelines last year has baffled investigators on both sides of the Atlantic for months. Still, new information examined by U.S. authority’s shows that a pro-Ukrainian gang carried it out.

U.S. authorities said they had found no evidence implicating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky or his senior lieutenants in the operation or that those responsible were following orders from anybody in the Ukrainian government.

The audacious assault on the natural gas pipelines between Russia and Western Europe has remained one of the most crucial mysteries of Russia's year-long conflict in Ukraine. Questions of responsibility have been raised in capitals as diverse as Moscow, Kiev, London, and Washington.

Several government authorities suspect Ukraine and its supporters of being behind the pipeline attacks. For years, they have fought against the project, claiming that making it easier for Russia to export gas to Europe is a danger to national security. Ukraine's military and government authorities have denied involvement in the incident and claimed to be unaware of its perpetrators.

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The connections of the culprits remained a mystery, according to U.S. authorities. The analysis of freshly gathered data shows that they were opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin but did not identify the group's members or who coordinated or funded the operation. Officials from the United States refused to divulge how the intelligence was gathered or the specifics of the evidence it contained. They have said that there are no definitive findings, leaving open the possibility that the operation was performed covertly by a proxy force with ties to the Ukrainian government or security agencies.

It is unclear why the Kremlin would sabotage the pipelines, considering that they have been a major source of cash and a tool for exerting influence in Europe. According to one estimate, fixing the pipes would begin at around $500 million. U.S. authorities claim that no proof of Russian government participation in the assault has been discovered.

Authorities who evaluated the information said they considered the saboteurs to be Ukrainian, Russian, or a blend of the two nationalities. U.S. authorities said that no American or British citizens were engaged.

In September, the pipes were torn apart by explosions in the deep sea, which U.S. authorities at the time classified as an act of sabotage. European leaders have said publicly that they think the operation that attacked the Nord Stream pipeline was likely state-sponsored, partly because of the skill with which the culprits placed and detonated explosives on the bottom of the Baltic Sea without being noticed.

According to U.S. officials who have examined new information, the explosives were likely put in by skilled divers who did not seem to be employed by the military or intelligence agencies. Nonetheless, it is probable that the culprits previously obtained specific government training.

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According to officials, U.S. and European intelligence agencies still had huge knowledge gaps. Officials added that that might be the first major lead from numerous secret probes, whose findings might have far-reaching consequences for the alliance backing Ukraine.

Direct or indirect engagement by Ukraine might damage Germany's already fragile relationship with Ukraine and turn off a population willing to accept higher energy costs in the name of solidarity.

The two pipelines, known as Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, have a combined length of 760 miles and reach from Lubmin in northeastern Germany to the northwest coast of Russia. The first one was finished in 2011 after having an overall construction cost of almost $12 billion.

Nord Stream 2 costs slightly less than the first pipeline. Nord Stream 2 was finished in 2021 at a cost somewhat less than the first pipeline, despite objections from officials in the United States, Britain, Poland, and Ukraine, among other countries, who warned that it would increase German dependency on Russian gas. These officials warned that if the West and Russia had a future diplomatic crisis, Moscow might blackmail Berlin by threatening to shut off gas supplies, which the Germans had depended heavily on, especially during the winter months.

There has been much conjecture regarding what happened on the ocean bottom close to the Danish island of Bornholm after the pipeline explosions in September.

Russia was promptly accused of laying the bombs by both Poland and Ukraine, despite their lack of proof. Similarly without proof, Russia has accused Britain of carrying it out. Russia and the United Kingdom have both denied responsibility for the blasts.

Any evidence implicating Kyiv or Ukrainian proxies might spark a reaction in Europe and make it more difficult for the West to maintain a unified front in favor of Ukraine.

U.S. officials and intelligence organizations agree that their understanding of Ukrainian decision-making is limited.

Despite Ukraine's reliance on the United States for military, intelligence, and diplomatic help, Ukrainian authorities are not always forthcoming with their American colleagues on their military operations, particularly targeting Russian targets behind enemy lines. These actions have irritated U.S. officials, who think they have not significantly strengthened Ukraine's position on the battlefield but have increased the danger of alienating European allies and escalating the conflict.

Some acts of sabotage and violence, however, have a more dubious origin, making it more difficult for U.S. intelligence agencies to attribute them to Ukrainian security forces.

Daria Dugina, the daughter of a famous Russian nationalist, was assassinated outside Moscow in August by a vehicle bomb.

Kyiv denied any participation, but U.S. intelligence services subsequently concluded that "elements" of the Ukrainian government were responsible for the murder. In reaction to this conclusion, the Biden administration informally reprimanded and cautioned the Ukrainians against engaging in similar conduct.

The blasts that shattered the Nord Stream pipes occurred five weeks after the murder of Ms. Dugina. Following the Nord Stream operation, there were whispered conjecture and concern in Washington that elements of the Ukraine government may have been involved.

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According to U.S. officials, the Biden administration's faith in Mr. Zelensky and his top national security team has been progressively improving as fresh information has shown no proof of the Ukrainian government's cooperation in the assault on the pipelines.

After the explosion, Denmark, Sweden, and Germany each initiated their own investigations into the Nord Stream operation.

Intelligence and law enforcement organizations on both sides of the Atlantic have struggled to gather clear information about what occurred on the ocean bottom before the explosions.

Neither commercial nor government sensors checked the pipes themselves carefully. In addition, the explosions occurred in a densely traveled region, which hindered the search for suitable vessels or boats.

Yet, detectives have several leads to explore.

Investigators have been compiling information on an estimated 45 "ghost ships" whose location transponders were either off or malfunctioning when they passed through the area, possibly to conceal their movements, according to a European lawmaker briefed by his country's primary foreign intelligence service late last year.

The congressman was also informed that the criminals utilized more than 1,000 pounds of "military grade" explosives.

Danish government spokespeople had no quick response. German government spokespeople refused to comment.

At the end of last month, Mats Ljungqvist, the chief prosecutor in charge of Sweden's inquiry, told The New York Times that his nation was still searching for the offenders.


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                       'PRO-UKRAINIAN GROUP' Blew Up Nord Stream Pipelines, US Intelligence Suggests: Report

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