On March 7, almost simultaneously, the New York Times and a joint article by ARD, ARD Kontraste magazine, SWR and ZEIT published investigations into the “sabotage of Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline,” which occurred on September 26, 2022, and resulted in the suspension of gas supplies through the pipeline.
InfoLight.UA has studied the original materials to understand the basis for such loud accusations and whether they can really threaten Ukraine.
In the article The New York Times, citing verified officials in the United States, reported that “New intelligence suggests that the attack on the Nord Stream gas pipeline was carried out by a “pro-Ukrainian group”. At the same time, there is no evidence or direct quotes with names and positions in the material.
U.S. officials have refused to disclose the nature of the intelligence, how it was obtained, or any details of the reliability of the evidence it contains. They said there were no clear conclusions on this, leaving open the possibility that the operation could have been carried out by an uncontrolled outside force linked to the Ukrainian government or its security services.direct quote from the material
Officials said there are still huge gaps in what U.S. intelligence agencies and their European partners knew about what happened. But officials said this could be the first significant finding of several highly secretive investigations, the conclusions of which could have serious implications for the coalition supporting Ukraine.
Any suggestion of Ukraine’s involvement, directly or indirectly, could ruin the delicate relationship between Ukraine and Germany, eroding support among the German public, which has swallowed high energy prices in the name of solidarity.In fact, the conclusion about the consequences is important, not of the investigation, but of the material.
Officials who reviewed the intelligence said they believed the saboteurs were likely Ukrainian or Russian citizens, or some combination of the two. US officials said that no Americans or Britons were involved.Another quote from the article New York Times
The article also states that pro-Russian investigator Seymour Hersh last month accused the Biden administration of blowing up these pipelines, arguing this version with a quote from the US President himself that if Russia invades Ukraine, then “Nord Stream 2 will not exist”.
We will put an end to thisJoe Biden said at the time
To strengthen the argument about Ukraine’s involvement, the article also cites examples of sabotage that took place in Russia’s deep rear and at strategic sites: The Crimean bridge, attacks on airfields in various parts of Russia, attacks on military bases, and even the murder of Daria Dugina, although Ukraine’s involvement in most of these cases has not been proven, and the combination of real combat operations by saboteurs and the murder of the daughter of a Russian propagandist in one paragraph is surprising.
No less controversial is material of the European conglomerate of the ARD broadcasting company, ARD Kontraste magazine, SWR and ZEIT publications. It contains a little more specific data, but it looks even more “tied to Ukraine”.
For example, it is reported that “Investigators identify boat used in Nord Stream attacks”.
Following a joint investigation by the ARD studio in the capital, the political magazine ARD Kontraste, SWR and ZEIT, the investigation has largely reconstructed how and when the explosive attack was planned. Accordingly, the traces lead in the direction of Ukraine. However, investigators have not yet found evidence of who ordered the destruction. On the night of September 26, 2022, three of the four lines of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea were destroyed by explosions.direct quote
According to the publication, “Investigators managed to identify the boat that was allegedly used for the covert operation. It is a yacht rented from a Polish company, which is likely to be owned by two Ukrainians. According to the investigation, the covert operation at sea was carried out by a team of six people. They are said to be five men and one woman. Accordingly, the group consisted of a captain, two divers, two assistant divers and a doctor, who are said to have transported the explosives to the crime scene and placed them there. The nationality of the perpetrators is apparently unknown. The killers used professionally forged passports, which were allegedly used, among other things, to rent a boat.”.
According to the investigation, the team sailed from Rostock on September 6, 2022. It is noted that the equipment for the covert operation was previously delivered to the port by truck. According to the investigation, the next day investigators managed to track the boat to Vik (Dars), and later to the Danish island of Kristiansø, northeast of Bornholm. Then the yacht was returned to the owner in an “uncleaned state”. According to the investigation, traces of explosives were found on the table in the cabin.
According to journalists, “In the fall, shortly after the explosion, the investigation sent information to European partner services, according to which a Ukrainian paratrooper was responsible for the sabotage. After that, according to intelligence, there were additional indications that a pro-Ukrainian group“.
It should be noted that this term, “pro-Ukrainian group” (“pro-Ukrainian group“) is used in both materials that appeared on the same day on both sides of the Atlantic. Groups of journalists who are independent of each other.
It’s worth noting here that the articles were written by very reputable journalists.
- Adam Entous is a journalist specializing in intelligence stories. In 2016, he won the Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles that led to the firing of a Trump adviser, and in 2017 he was again a candidate for the Pulitzer Prize.
- Julian E. Barnes – also specializes in intelligence journalism. He has many years of experience and has worked for top newspapers and magazines.
- Adam Goldman is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, 2018 and 2021. In 2018, he received the award for investigating Russia’s interference in the US elections. He also specializes in intelligence journalism.
- ARD, journal ARD Kontraste, publicationSWR і ZEIT – also a solid media outlet;
Accordingly, the apparent lack of any evidence in the materials was compensated for by big names. This should distract attention from the content of the articles and the “strange” synchronization of the appearance of these materials.
The reaction of Russian propagandists to this material is no less interesting. According to the expectations, they were supposed to take these versions on board and start spinning this story as much as possible, intensifying the accusations against Ukraine.
However, most of them continue to insist on the previous version – that Nord Stream has undermined the United States.
For example, Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov stated that “publications in foreign media about Ukraine’s involvement in the explosions of the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines are a coordinated media fake, according to him, Russia is still not allowed to participate in the international investigation”.
This means that Russia is playing on two boards simultaneously. On the other hand, there is an attempt to quarrel at least Ukraine and Germany, and the materials we have studied show exactly that. On the other hand, it is the continued escalation of Russian society’s hatred of Americans, because according to Putin’s “general line,” it is the United States that is now Russia’s main enemy, with whom it is at war.
After all, to admit to your population that Ukrainians are capable of disabling Russia’s top geopolitical projects with the help of a team of six people on a yacht rented in Poland is a blow to the reputation of all Russian special services combined.
Journalists from ARD, Kontraste, SWR and ZEIT contacted sources in several countries for comment on their investigation; As you know, security agencies from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States were involved in the investigation of the pipeline destruction. In Germany, the attorney general is in charge of the investigation.
Even if the traces lead to Ukraine, the investigation has not yet been able to find out who hired the group of perpetrators. International security circles do not rule out that this could also be a false flag operation. This means that traces pointing to Ukraine as the culprit could also have been deliberately created. However, investigators apparently found no evidence to support this scenario.
Initially, the Ukrainian government could not be reached for comment. The Prosecutor General also declined to comment. The German government spokesperson referred to investigations conducted by the attorney general and authorities in Sweden and Denmark. Only “a few days ago” Sweden, Denmark and Germany “informed the UN Security Council that investigations are ongoing and that there are still no results,” the government spokesman said.is a very typical outcome of the European investigation.
Ukraine’s official position is clear: we are not involved in these events in any way. Similarly, everything points to Russia as the alleged mastermind of this bombing. And the appearance of such materials and the reaction of Russian spokespersons to them is further confirmation of this.
After we wrote this article, another reputable Western media outlet, The Times, published a follow-up. Here we quote our colleagues from Yevropeiska Pravda.”
Members of an unnamed Scandinavian delegation in Brussels received intelligence that the bombings were not the work of Americans, Russians, or Poles, but a private initiative from Ukraine. Diplomats were told that this information would not be made public.
According to the newspaper, the private sponsor of the sabotage, an unnamed Ukrainian, is not affiliated with President Zelensky’s government.
It seems to anyone with a critical mind that a reference to “staff of an unnamed Scandinavian delegation in Brussels” in such sensitive matters must sound rather strange.