Leaked US intelligence suggests a pro-Ukrainian group may be behind the September 2022 gas pipeline attacks.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has called for caution following media reports that a pro-Ukrainian group may be responsible for blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines that supply Russian energy to Europe.
While not pointing to any official involvement from Ukraine, a New York Times report published Tuesday said intelligence reviewed by US officials has suggested a pro-Kiev group may be behind the September attacks, which came after last year’s attacks became a focal point between the West and Russia. Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“National investigations are ongoing and I think it’s good to wait for those to be completed before we say more about who was behind it,” Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.
The explosions on the pipelines connecting Russia and Germany occurred on September 26 in the exclusive economic zones of Sweden and Denmark. Both countries have concluded that the blasts were deliberate, but have not said who might be responsible.
Russia, which previously blamed the West, seized the news on Wednesday to demand a transparent investigation in which it also wants to cooperate.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested the media reports were a coordinated attempt to divert attention and questioned how US officials could assume anything about the attacks without an investigation.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said the media reports were “a bit strange” and had “nothing to do” with the Ukrainian government.
Reznikov said he was not worried about the prospect of media reports weakening support for Ukraine.
Germany warned against “hasty conclusions”.
“We have to make a clear distinction whether it was a Ukrainian group, whether it happened on the orders of Ukraine, or a pro-Ukrainian group (acting) without the government’s knowledge,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Wednesday.
Pistorius said on the sidelines of a Stockholm summit that there was an “equal chance” that it could have been a “false flag operation set up to blame Ukraine”.
Meanwhile, Germany’s federal prosecutor confirmed that investigators had raided a ship in January that may have been used to carry the explosives used to blow up the pipelines, but said there was no reliable information yet about the motives, the perpetrators and whether the attack was committed by the state. sponsored.
Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, told reporters there was “no suspicion against employees of the German company that leased the ship.”
“As long as the investigation into Nord Stream blasts is ongoing, we cannot draw any conclusions,” Borrell said.
Germany’s broadcaster ARD and newspaper Zeit said on Tuesday that the operation to plant explosives on the seabed was carried out by six people, five men and one woman, using forged passports.
They were transporting explosives on a yacht leased from a German charter airline by a Polish-based company owned by Ukrainian citizens, according to the report and prosecutors.