NORD STREAM UPDATE: German media report that state investigators believe a six-person team, likely from Ukraine, planted the explosives at the beginning of September
The vague, anonymously sourced account emerges exactly a month after Seymour Hersh published his story on How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline
Almost a month to the day after Seymour Hersh posted his bombshell report on the Nord Stream pipeline bombings to Substack, Die Zeit and German state media have published a vague, anonymously sourced story strongly suggesting that Ukraine is to blame for the attacks, without actually saying so:
German investigators have reportedly achieved a breakthrough in solving the attack on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. According to joint reporting by ARD’s capital city studio, Kontraste, SWR and Die Zeit, investigators have largely reconstructed how and when the explosives attack was prepared, and clues point in the direction of Ukraine. Yet the investigators have not yet found any evidence as to who ordered the attack …
Specifically … investigators have identified the boat that was presumably used for the secret operation. It is said to be a yacht rented from a company based in Poland, which apparently belongs to two Ukrainians. According to the investigation, the secret operation was carried out by a team of six people, said to be five men and one woman. According to the report, the group consisted of a captain, two divers, two diving assistants and a female doctor, who are reported to have transported the explosives to the crime scene and planted them there. The nationality of the perpetrators is apparently unclear. They reportedly used professionally forged passports to rent the boat, among other things.
According to the investigation, the team set sail from Rostock on 6 September 2022. The equipment for the secret operation was transported to the harbour in a van beforehand ... Investigators have succeeded in locating the boat again the next day in Wieck (Darß) and later on near the Danish island Christiansø, northeast of Bornholm. The yacht was subsequently returned to the owner in uncleaned condition. Investigators found traces of explosives on the table in the cabin. According to information … a Western intelligence service is said to have sent a tip to European partner services as early as autumn, shortly shortly after the explosions, pointing to the responsibility of a Ukrainian team. Afterwards, there reportedly emerged further intelligence suggesting that a pro-Ukrainian group might be responsible.
No German officials will go on the record to confirm or deny the reporting, but Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak continues to insist that it’s far more likely the Russians blew up their own pipeline:
Ukrainian presidential advisor Mychajlo Podoljak told ARD capital city studio, Kontraste, SWR and Zeit in a statement that Ukraine “of course had nothing to do with the attacks on Nord Stream-2".” There was “no confirmation that Ukrainian officials or the military took part in this operation or that persons were sent to act on their behalf.” It is conceivable that Russia was behind it, he said. “There are many more motives and many more possible operations in this scenario,” Podoljak said.
A nearly identical but separately reported story, which also appeared yesterday in the New York Times, has “U.S. officials” saying basically the same thing, but with even less detail:
New intelligence reviewed by U.S. officials suggests that a pro-Ukrainian group carried out the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines last year …
U.S. officials said there was much they did not know about the perpetrators and their affiliations. The review of newly collected intelligence suggests they were opponents of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, but does not specify the members of the group, or who directed or paid for the operation.
U.S. officials declined to disclose the nature of the intelligence, how it was obtained or any details of the strength of the evidence it contains. They have said that there are no firm conclusions about it, leaving open the possibility that the operation might have been conducted off the books by a proxy force with connections to the Ukrainian government or its security services. …
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 plausibility of the Nord Stream attacks being the work of two divers on a rented yacht who planted eight to sixteen explosives – the equivalent of many hundreds of kilogrammes of TNT – on four pipelines at the considerable depth of 80 metres, is something my readers will have to decide themselves. The fact checkers will not help you here; indeed, as the story echoes through the German media, it seems our journalists have already forgotten their misgivings about anonymously sourced investigative pieces. I do find it surprising that both American and German officials seem willing now to throw Ukraine under the bus – even in this attenuated way – for no apparent purpose beyond serving the public a better alternative to Hersh’s story than the threadbare Russia-did-it thesis.
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An amusing aspect of this latest twist, is that all the earliest reporting had German, Scandinavian officials saying that this could only have been done by a state actor. The pipes are 80 metres deep! Encased in concrete! This is not something just anybody with a yacht and explosives could pull off!
Now the official line is indeed that it was pulled off by some randos with a vanfull of explosives who rented a yacht.
If it doesn't have to make sense, couldn't they just blame the North Koreans or the Iranians or something?
Why have government liars become so clumsy? You'd think with all the money they have, they could hire people to think up really persuasive lies. Next week they'll be saying "The dog ate my pipeline."