US Had Intel On Ukrainian Plot To Sabotage Nord Stream Pipeline Months Before Attack: REPORT

Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The Biden administration knew of a Ukrainian plot to destroy the Nord Stream 1 pipeline months before three mysterious blasts tore holes in both major natural gas lines running from Russia to Germany, The Washington Post reported, citing documents obtained from a mass intelligence leak.

A close U.S. ally, whom the Post agreed to keep confidential, revealed to the CIA in June 2022 that they learned of a plan hatched by the Ukrainian military to send a small military diving squad who reported directly to the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ commander in chief to blow up Nord Stream 1, the Post reported, citing the leaked Pentagon intelligence documents. The intelligence could strengthen a growing suspicion among Western allies that Moscow was not responsible for the sabotage, even after many Western analysts and officials jumped to peg the blame on Russia after the September 2022 attacks.

The operation, planned to take place just after allied naval exercises ended on June 7, the intelligence summary says, according to the Post. (RELATED: Russia And Ukraine Trade Blame Over Dam Collapse In War Hotspot)

However, German officials also said certain details of the plan fit a picture that is slowly emerging of pro-Ukraine special forces operators who assumed fake identities, rented a commercial sailing yacht and planted the explosives near the pipelines sometime in September, the Post reported. While the intelligence document only references the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, the September incident targeted both Nord Stream 1 and 2,.

President Joe Biden called the attacks “a deliberate act of sabotage” and pledged “to get to the bottom of exactly what … happened,” according to the Post.

Analysts and officials initially suggested Russia’s motivation was to strangle European energy supplies through the winter by indefinitely cutting off access to Europe’s largest natural gas source and blackmail Europe into loosening sanctions on Russia.

The intelligence report explains the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi oversaw the planned operation to ensure President Volodymyr Zelenskyy remained unaware and could plausibly deny responsibility, according to the Post. Ukraine opposed the Nord Stream project because the pipelines allowed Russia to bypass Ukraine when exporting natural gas to Europe, boosting Russia’s export revenue.

DRANSKE, GERMANY - MARCH 17: The Andromeda, a 50-foot Bavaria 50 Cruiser recreational sailing yacht, stands in dry dock on the headland of Bug on Ruegen Island on March 17, 2023 near Dranske, Germany. According to media reports, German investigators searched the boat recently and suspect a six-person crew used it to sail to the Baltic Sea and plant explosives that detonated on the Nord Stream pipeline in September of 2022, causing extensive damage. Investigators reportedly found traces of explosives on the table inside the yacht. While initial findings point to a possible Ukrainian connection to the sabotage operation, many questions remain open.

DRANSKE, GERMANY – MARCH 17: The Andromeda, a 50-foot Bavaria 50 Cruiser recreational sailing yacht, stands in dry dock on the headland of Bug on Ruegen Island on March 17, 2023 near Dranske, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The CIA shared the intelligence report, which came from a single Ukrainian source, in June with Germany and other European countries, the Post reported, citing officials familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Post reported officials from multiple countries confirmed the intelligence summary obtained by the outlet matched what was shared with them in mid-2022. The previously unreported intelligence comes from documents posted in an online chat forum by Airman Jack Teixeira and shared with the Post by his friends.

The CIA declined to comment. The White House and National Security Council did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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