Intelligence Suggests Pro-Ukrainian Group Sabotaged Pipelines, U.S. Officials Say - The New York Times
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in Lubmin, Germany, last year.
Credit. Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg
New intelligence reporting amounts to the first significant known lead about who was responsible for the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines that carried natural gas from Russia to Europe.
Officials who have reviewed the intelligence said they believed the saboteurs were most likely Ukrainian or Russian nationals, or some combination of the two. U.S. officials said no American or British nationals were involved.
The pipelines were ripped apart by deep sea explosions in September, in what U.S. officials described at the time as an act of sabotage. European officials have publicly said they believe the operation that targeted Nord Stream was probably state sponsored, possibly because of the sophistication with which the perpetrators planted and detonated the explosives on the floor of the Baltic Sea without being detected. U.S. officials have not stated publicly that they believe the operation was sponsored by a state.
The explosives were most likely planted with the help of experienced divers who did not appear to be working for military or intelligence services, U.S. officials who have reviewed the new intelligence said. But it is possible that the perpetrators received specialized government training in the past.
Officials said there were still enormous gaps in what U.S. spy agencies and their European partners knew about what transpired. But officials said it might constitute the first significant lead to emerge from several closely guarded investigations, the conclusions of which could have profound implications for the coalition supporting Ukraine.
Any suggestion of Ukrainian involvement, whether direct or indirect, could upset the delicate relationship between Ukraine and Germany, souring support among a German public that has swallowed high energy prices in the name of solidarity.