US Intelligence Now Says Pro-Ukraine, Possibly Government-Trained Mystery Forces Destroyed Nord Stream Pipelines
Last month, Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh concluded that the United States blew up the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream natural gas pipelines last September as part of a covert operation under the guise of the BALTOPS 22 NATO exercise.
Now, four weeks after Hersh's bombshell report, anonymous US intelligence officials tell the NY Times that the saboteurs are likely 'pro-Ukraine, possibly government-trained Ukrainian or Russian nationals, or some combination of the two,' but that 'no American or British nationals were involved.'
U.S. officials said that they had no evidence President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine or his top lieutenants were involved in the operation, or that the perpetrators were acting at the direction of any Ukrainian government officials.
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. -NY Times
The perpetrators were likely "experienced divers who did not appear to be working for military or intelligence services," US officials said, adding that "it is possible that the perpetrators received specialized government training in the past."
According to one European lawmaker briefed late last year by his country's primary foreign intelligence service, over 1,000 pounds of "military grade" explosives were used.
As a reminder, the pipeline attack came after President Joe Biden telegraphed last year that they would be destroyed.
Pres. Biden: "If Russia invades...then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it."— ABC News (@ABC) February 7, 2022
Reporter: "But how will you do that, exactly, since...the project is in Germany's control?"
Biden: "I promise you, we will be able to do that." https://t.co/uruQ4F4zM9 pic.twitter.com/4ksDaaU0YC
While top US diplomat Victoria Nuland celebrated the attack...
At a Senate hearing, top US diplomat Victoria Nuland celebrated the Nord Stream 2 pipeline bombing:— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) January 27, 2023
"Senator Cruz, like you, I am, and I think the administration is, very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 is now, as you like to say, a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea." pic.twitter.com/KS5OM4N165
And a former Polish Minister thanked the US for destroying it in a now-deleted tweet.
'But it wasn't us!' the US insists.
The Times also notes that the implications of Ukrainian involvement in the attack "whether direct or indirect," which 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."
Since the explosions along the pipelines in September, there has been rampant speculation about what transpired on the sea floor near the Danish island of Bornholm. Poland and Ukraine immediately accused Russia of planting the explosives, but they offered no evidence. Russia, in turn, accused Britain of carrying out the operation — also without evidence. Russia and Britain have denied any involvement in the explosions.
Any findings that put blame on Kyiv or Ukrainian proxies could prompt a backlash in Europe and make it harder for the West to maintain a united front in support of Ukraine.
U.S. officials and intelligence agencies acknowledge that they have limited visibility into Ukrainian decision-making. -NYT
In response, Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the head of President Zelensky's office said: "Ukraine has nothing to do with the incident in the Baltic Sea and has no information about "pro-Ukrainian subversive groups."
New: Ukraine "has nothing to do with the Baltic Sea mishap and has no information about 'pro-[Ukraine] sabotage groups,'" says Zelensky adviser Mykhailo Podolyak on the report of a pro-Ukraine group being behind Nord Stream sabotage https://t.co/8auIGYzOCW— Shannon Vavra (@shanvav) March 7, 2023
That said, the report goes on (like three times) to claim that there's "no evidence so far of the Ukrainian government's complicity in the attack on the pipelines."
Further muddying the waters is a report from a European lawmaker briefed late last year about an estimated 45 "ghost ships" that were in the area of the pipeline attack with their location transponders turned off.
The least likely possibility, as usual, is the one that the Western corporate media mindelessly fed everyone immediately: Russia blew up their own pipeline (😂).— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 7, 2023
Sweden/Denmark are investigating. The Russians are urging release of those results. Yes, let's see those: https://t.co/IxI31sinmh