Europe

Nord Stream investigations: Traces lead to Ukraine

German investigative authorities have apparently made a breakthrough in solving the attacks on the Nord Stream pipeline.

According to ARD information, there is no evidence of who caused the destruction – but there are traces. They lead to Ukraine.

It is probably the most politically explosive investigation of the Attorney General. After joint research by the ARD capital studio, the ARD political magazine “Kontraste”, SWR and “ZEIT”, it was possible to largely reconstruct how and when the bomb attack on the Nord Stream pipelines was prepared in the course of the investigation. Accordingly, traces lead in the direction of Ukraine. However, investigators have not yet found any evidence as to who ordered the destruction. On the night of September 26, 2022, three of the four strands of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines on the bottom of the Baltic Sea were destroyed by explosions.

Specifically, according to information from the ARD capital studio, “Kontraste”, SWR and “ZEIT”, the investigators succeeded in identifying the boat that was allegedly used for the secret operation. It is said to be a yacht rented from a company based in Poland, apparently owned by two Ukrainians. According to the investigation, the secret operation at sea was carried out by a team of six people. It is said to have been five men and one woman.

Accordingly, the group consisted of a captain, two divers, two diving assistants and a doctor, who are said to have transported the explosives to the crime scenes and placed them there. The nationality of the perpetrators is apparently unclear. The assassins used professionally forged passports, which are said to have been used, among other things, to rent the boat.

Traces of explosives in the cabin

According to the investigation, the command set sail from Rostock on September 6, 2022. The equipment for the secret operation was previously transported to the port in a delivery truck, it is said. According to the research, the investigators subsequently managed to locate the boat again the following day in Wieck (Darß) and later on the Danish island of Christiansø northeast of Bornholm. The yacht was then returned to the owner in an uncleaned condition. According to research, investigators found traces of explosives on the table in the cabin.

According to information from the ARD capital studio, “Kontraste”, SWR and “ZEIT”, a Western secret service is said to have sent a tip to European partner services in the autumn, i.e. shortly after the destruction, according to which a Ukrainian commando was responsible for the destruction. After that, there are said to have been further intelligence indications that a pro-Ukrainian group could be responsible.

A “false flag” operation would also be possible

The ARD capital studio, “Kontraste”, SWR and “ZEIT” spoke to sources in several countries for their research. Security authorities in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and the USA were involved in the investigation into the destruction of the pipelines. In Germany, the Attorney General is in charge of the investigation, which has commissioned both the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Federal Police.

Even if traces lead to Ukraine, the investigators have not yet been able to find out who commissioned the suspected group of perpetrators. In international security circles, it is not ruled out that it could also be a “false flag” operation. This means that traces could also have been deliberately laid that point to Ukraine as the culprit. However, the investigators have apparently found no evidence that confirms such a scenario.

Kiev: “Of course they have nothing to do with the attacks”

The Ukrainian government could not initially be reached for comment. In response to a request from the ARD capital studio, “Kontraste”, SWR and “ZEIT” to the Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhail Podolyak, he said that Ukraine “of course had nothing to do with the attacks on Nord Stream 2”.

In Germany, the Attorney General declined to comment. A spokesman for the federal government merely referred to the ongoing investigations by the Attorney General. He thus has sovereignty over the procedure. “In addition, investigations into the explosions are ongoing in Sweden and Denmark, each under the leadership of the national authorities there. A few days ago, Sweden, Denmark and Germany informed the United Nations Security Council that the investigations are ongoing and that there are still no results. ”

Report: USA suspect pro-Ukrainian group behind attacks

The “New York Times” reports meanwhile, citing unnamed US government officials, that there are new findings from the US secret services, according to which a pro-Ukrainian group is responsible for the attack. However, there is no evidence that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy or those close to him were implicated, or that the perpetrators acted on orders from the Ukrainian government.

The material from the US intelligence services suggests that the perpetrators are opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, it does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about the members of the group, nor about who commissioned or paid them.

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