New evidence suggests to U.S. officials that a pro-Ukrainian group may have been behind the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines last year, according to a report from The New York Times.
Officials reportedly told the NYT there was no evidence the saboteurs were coordinating in any way with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy or other Ukrainian government officials, although the government in Kyiv has opposed the Nord Stream project for years. Ukrainian officials have denied playing any role in the attack and have not pinned blame on any other actors.
Nord Stream II news:
New intelligence suggests pro-Ukrainian group carried out the attack
No evidence of Russian government involvement…
Saboteurs most likely Ukrainian or Russian nationals…
U.S. officials said no US or UK nationals involved.https://t.co/ogiIC1190Y
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) March 7, 2023
Speculation ran amok in the aftermath of the attack, which caused a natural gas leak under the Baltic Sea and cut off gas supply through the pipelines from Russia to Germany. Russia, the United States and other European actors were all blamed by various parties.
Prior to Tuesday’s report, it had been reported that there was no intelligence available that connected the attack to Russia. A recent report from journalist Seymour Hersh claimed the United States was responsible with the help of Norway, although key elements of that report have since been debunked.
U.S. officials allegedly told the NYT that the suspected saboteurs were of Ukrainian or Russian origin and are opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin. European officials have previously stated they believe the attack, which caused multiple explosions in the pipelines in September, were carried out by state actors due to the sophistication required to pull off the sabotage undetected.
Officials emphasized that the findings were not conclusive and that there are still major unknowns about the attack, according to the NYT. They did state that the new evidence has rekindled optimism that the culprits may ultimately be identified. (RELATED: Russia Likely Won’t Repair The Nord Stream Pipeline: REPORT)
Blame directed toward Ukraine for the explosions threatens to undermine support for Kyiv’s defense against Russia’s invasion which began last year, particularly in Europe. Energy costs on the continent have been driven up since Putin decided to invade Russia’s neighbor, with the pipeline explosions exacerbating that issue.