Ukraine Denies Involvement In Nord Stream Sabotage
Ukraine denies involvement in Nord Stream sabotage following a US intelligence report suggesting a "pro-Ukrainian group" was involved in sabotaging Nord Stream pipelines.
Mykhailo Podolyak, the top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, denied any involvement, stating that "Ukraine has nothing to do with the Baltic Sea mishap." The pipelines were closed at the time of the attack, which targeted a crucial source of revenue for Russia.
In an interview with public radio station Deutschlandfunk (DLF) on Wednesday, German defense minister Boris Pistorius cautioned against rushing to conclusions in response to the recent report on the Nord Stream pipeline attack. He acknowledged the possibility of a false flag operation, which could involve blaming pro-Ukrainian groups for the attack, and urged waiting for further developments. Pistorius emphasized the need for a thorough investigation before any conclusions can be drawn.
It could just as well be, and this has also been made clear in the reports, that it was a false flag action (operation), in other words, to blame pro-Ukrainian groups and make it look that way, the probability of one or the other is equally high, so we must now wait and see how things develop. It does not help us to think about the impact this would have on our support for Ukraine on the basis of such research, which has undoubtedly been done painstakingly and meticulously.
- German defense minister Boris Pistorius
Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO, also confirmed that the perpetrator behind the sabotage had not been identified yet.
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We have not been able to determine who was behind [the sabotage]. There are ongoing national investigations and I think it’s right to wait until those are finalized before we say anything more.
- Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO
The US intelligence assessment was not made with high confidence and is not the predominant view of the intelligence community. The US has not yet identified a culprit for the attack. The intelligence community has no evidence of Ukrainian leaders, including Zelensky, having any knowledge of or involvement in the pipeline sabotage.
The incident remains a major point of contention between Russia and the West. The pipelines, which link Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea to funnel gas from Russia into the European Union, were controversial long before Russia's war on Ukraine due to European fears around reliance on Russian energy.
Russia, which has in the past denied involvement in striking the pipelines and blamed the West for the explosions, has described the latest report as an "obvious disinformation campaign coordinated by the media." Multiple investigations by European authorities are ongoing.
Swedish prosecutors confirmed in November 2022 that the blasts at the pipelines were an act of sabotage after investigators uncovered evidence of explosives at the sites. Still, their preliminary investigation had yet to determine any charges. German prosecutors’ office searched a boat in January that was suspected of carrying explosives used in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 explosions. Investigations are ongoing and reliable statements cannot be issued yet, particularly as to whether there was any state involvement.
Ukraine's defense minister denies Kyiv's involvement in Nord Stream pipeline explosion
It is important to note that the incident involving the Nord Stream pipelines is a highly sensitive issue in international relations. The pipelines serve as a major source of revenue for Russia, which has used them as a tool to exert political influence over Europe. At the same time, many European countries are wary of relying too heavily on Russian energy, and the damage to the pipelines was a blow to the region's energy security.
The new intelligence suggesting a "pro-Ukrainian group" may have been involved in the attack adds another layer of complexity to the situation. While Ukrainian officials have denied any involvement, some members of the US intelligence community believe that pro-Ukrainian actors may have had the motive to sabotage the pipelines as a way of striking back against Russian aggression.
A Kremlin spokesman described the report as an “obvious disinformation campaign coordinated by the media.”
According to Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov:
Clearly, the authors of the attack want to divert attention. This is an obvious misinformation campaign coordinated by the media,
- Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby referred questions to investigating European authorities and said he was “not going to get ahead of that investigative work.”
“Several our European partners – in fact, three of them in Germany, Sweden, and Denmark – have already opened investigations into what happened with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and those investigations are not closed. They’re still hard at work on that,” Kirby said.
It is too early to draw any definitive conclusions about who was responsible for the attack. Multiple investigations by European authorities are ongoing, and it will likely be some time before a clear picture emerges. In the meantime, tensions between Russia and the West continue to simmer, and the incident remains a flashpoint in the ongoing energy standoff between the two sides.
During a meeting of G20 Foreign Ministers in New Delhi earlier this month, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov insisted on the necessity of a "fair and prompt investigation" into the explosions.