Nord-Stream-Ermittlungen – Spuren führen in die 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.
By Michael Götschenberg, ARD terrorism expert, Georg Heil, rbb, and Holger Schmidt, ARD terrorism expert
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” , the SWR and the “ZEIT” it was possible to largely reconstruct how and when the bomb attack on the Nord Stream pipelines was prepared. 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.
First lead to sabotage of Nord Stream pipelines leads to pro-Ukrainian commando group
Georg Heil/ Lisa Wandt, RBB, daily topics 10:15 p.m., March 7th, 2023
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.
It was a “serious violent attack on the energy supply,” according to the agency.
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
Meanwhile, the “New York Times” reports, citing unnamed US government officials, that the US secret services have new findings that 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.
As a reminder, last month, Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hershconcluded 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.
Yesterday, four weeks after Hersh’s bombshell report, anonymous US intelligence officials told 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.“
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.”
That should not be a surprise as the report goes on (multiple times) to claim that there’s “no evidence so far of the Ukrainian government’s complicity in the attack on the pipelines.”
CIA officials “officials declined to disclose the nature of the intelligence, how it was obtained or any details of the strength of the evidence it contains” but we’re supposed to believe this isn’t a smokescreen after the CIA was credibly accused of orchestrating it https://t.co/6cAgYvXvG6
“I wonder who allows such leaks, filling the media scene with them?” asked Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
“The answer is: those who do not want to conduct an investigation in the legal field and are going to divert the attention of the audience from the facts in every possible way.”
Andrey Ledenev, Minister Counselor of the Russian Embassy in the United States, said the report served to protect the true culprits behind the attack.
“We have no faith in the “impartiality” of the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence. We perceive anonymous “leaks” as nothing more than an attempt to confuse those who are sincerely trying to get to the bottom of things in this egregious crime. Shift the blame from the statesmen who ordered and coordinated the attacks in the Baltic Sea to some abstract individuals,” Ledenev said.
Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said the New York Times story had “instantly got a ‘green light’ in the local information field” and was intended to distract from the facts presented in Hersh’s piece.
“Obviously, those who have masterminded the [Nord Stream] attack want to divert attention. Obviously, this is a coordinated media hoax campaign,” he asserted.
Further, Peskov said the Kremlin is wondering how US officials can suggest anything regarding the ‘terrorist’ attack on Nord Stream without an investigation, while he suggested it is strange and smells of a “monstrous crime”, according to RIA.
Needless to say, the twitterverse mocked the clear distraction:
”pro-Ukrainian group” makes it sound like the Ukrainian Cultural Association of Ohio recruited military deep sea divers with 1,000 pounds of explosives
BREAKING NEWS: The CIA alleges that 5 random clowns in a sailboat penetrated the most highly patrolled body of water on earth, drilled through concrete at incredible depths, and planted 1,000 Kilograms of highly unstable C4 plastique, then remote detonated it with pulse sonar.
However, NakedCapitalism’s Yves Smith points out that even though the US has succeeded in burying the Sy Hersh story depicting Biden and his top foreign policy officials as the instigators of the bombing, it’s gotten traction in Germany.
The new claim is that some rather small sailing yacht, which would not even be able to carry the necessary equipment to perform such a deed, was the main instrument in this:
Following joint research by [German main public TV news unit] (ARD’s capital city studio), the ARD political magazine Kontraste, [German public TV] SWR and DIE ZEIT, it was possible to reconstruct to a large extent in the course of the investigation how and when the explosive attack was prepared. According to this, traces lead in the direction of Ukraine. However, investigators have so far found no evidence of who ordered the destruction.
Specifically, according to information from [these news sources], investigators have managed to identify the boat that was presumably used for the secret operation. It is said to be a yacht rented from a company based in Poland, apparently owned by two Ukrainians. The clandestine operation at sea is said to have been carried out by a team of six people, according to the investigation. It is said to have involved 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 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.According to the investigation, the commando set sail from Rostock on September 6, 2022. The equipment for the clandestine operation was previously transported to the port in a van, it is said. In the further course, the investigators succeeded in locating the boat the following day again in Wieck (Darß) and later at the Danish island Christiansø, northeast of Bornholm, according to the research. The yacht was subsequently returned to the owner in uncleaned condition. On the table in the cabin, the investigators were able to detect traces of explosives, according to the research. According to information from [the mentioned news sources], a Western intelligence service is said to have sent a tip to European partner services as early as in the fall, i.e. shortly after the destruction, according to which a Ukrainian commando was responsible for the destruction. Thereafter, there have allegedly been further intelligence indications suggesting that a pro-Ukrainian group could be responsible.
No. You do not dive down to 80+ meter for an industrial size job, involving the placement of hundreds of pounds of explosives in eight individual charges on very sturdy pipelines, from a sparsely manned sailing boat. Such deep dives require special gases, special breathing equipment, special training, a decompression chamber for emergencies and lots of well trained people to maintain all that stuff.
There is the cynical take that the “blame it on people who like Ukraine” is meant to weaken Ukraine support. That seems unlikely. Pinning blame on mystery operatives with superpowers turns scrutiny as far as possible from government actors, and the big point is to exculpate the US, particularly its top brass. Conveniently, that sort of caper is such a staple of action movies that great swathes of the public have been pre-programmed to believe it.
But the alleged “link” may still blunt Germany sympathy for Ukraine:
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius says claims that pro-Ukrainian group behind Nord Stream SABOTAGE may have consequences for Western support to Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/o28CqhMhwl
But, as Yves Smith notes, before you get your hopes up, until Robert Habeck and Annelina Baerbock get lobotomies, I don’t see German policy changing. They are diehard hawks and still very much in the driver’s seat.
It’s clearly the US hope that this deflection will make the Nord Stream “whodunit” go away.
But Sy Hersh was already promising more stories on this case, and this mini-barrage gives him additional grist. Pass the popcorn.
As Summit News previously highlighted, both China and Hungary have called for a full international investigation into the pipeline attack under the auspices of the United Nations.
Seymour Hersh EXCLUSIVE: SHREDS NYT’s Nord Stream Report