US Intelligence Reports Claim Pro-Ukraine Groups Attacked Nord Stream Pipelines

US officials said there is no evidence that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky or other senior leaders were involved

New Delhi: Officials in the United States government have said that they have intelligence suggesting that the Nord Stream pipelines, destroyed in an explosion last year, were attacked by “pro-Ukrainian groups”, The New York Times reported.

However, the officials continued, there is no evidence that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky or other senior leaders were involved. Nor is there proof that the attackers were acting on the government’s orders. According to the NYT report:

“The explosives were most likely planted with the help of experienced divers who did not appear to be working for military or intelligence services, U.S. officials who have reviewed the new intelligence said. But it is possible that the perpetrators received specialized government training in the past.

Officials said there were still enormous gaps in what U.S. spy agencies and their European partners knew about what transpired. But officials said it might constitute the first significant lead to emerge from several closely guarded investigations, the conclusions of which could have profound implications for the coalition supporting Ukraine.”

On September 26, 2022, the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany was largely destroyed by several explosions in the Baltic Sea. Denmark, Sweden and Germany are conducting investigations into what led to the explosions. While none of them have completed their probes, ambassadors of the three countries recently told UN Security Council members in a letter that the pipelines were extensively damaged “by powerful explosions due to sabotage”. European officials have said that they believe the attack was likely state-sponsored.

The pipeline had been a thorn in Ukraine’s side, with government officials going so far as to call it a national security threat. US President Joe Biden too had threatened to stop the pipelines functioning early last year – saying the Russian President Vladimir Putin should think twice before sending troops to Ukraine.

After meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany at the White House, Biden had said Putin’s decision about whether to attack Ukraine would determine the fate of the pipeline. “If Russia invades, that means tanks and troops crossing the border of Ukraine again, then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2,” Biden said. “We will bring an end to it.” He did not answer questions on how exactly this would be done, instead just saying, “I promise you we’ll be able to do it.”

Biden’s words were back in the limelight last month, after Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh published an article alleging that the Biden administration and the CIA were directly responsible for the explosion. The White House dismissed these allegations as “utterly false and complete fiction”, but refused to comment further.

Russia brought up these allegations at the United Nations, demanding a UN probe into the US’s ‘sabotage’ of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines.