Leaked US intelligence suggests a pro-Ukrainian group may be behind the September 2022 gas pipeline attacks.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged caution following media reports that a pro-Ukrainian group could be responsible for the explosion of Nord Stream pipelines supplying Russian energy to Europe.
While not pointing to any official Ukrainian involvement, a New York Times report on Tuesday said intelligence reviewed by US officials revealed a pro-Kiev group may be behind the September attacks, which became a flashpoint between the West and Russia after last year. Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“There are ongoing national investigations and I think it’s fair to wait until they’re finalized before saying anything more about who was behind it,” Stoltenberg said Wednesday.
The explosions on the pipelines connecting Russia and Germany took place on September 26 in the exclusive economic zones of Sweden and Denmark. Both countries concluded that the explosions were deliberate but did not say who might be responsible.
Russia, which has so far implicated the West, seized on the news on Wednesday to demand a transparent investigation in which it also wants to participate.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested the media reports were a coordinated attempt to distract 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 the media reporting weakening support for Ukraine.
Germany warned against “jumping to conclusions”.
“We have to make a clear distinction whether it was a Ukrainian group, whether it happened under Ukrainian orders or a pro-Ukrainian group. [acting] without the knowledge of the government,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Wednesday.
Pistorius said on the sidelines of a summit in Stockholm that the likelihood was “just as high” that it could have been a “false flag operation staged to blame Ukraine”.
Meanwhile, Germany’s federal prosecutor confirmed investigators raided a vessel in January which may have been used to transport the explosives used to blow up the pipelines, but said there was no information yet. reliable on the motives, the perpetrators or whether the attack was state. sponsored.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, told reporters that there were “no suspicions against the employees of the German company that leased the vessel”.
“While investigations into the Nord Stream explosions are ongoing, we cannot draw any conclusions,” Borrell said.
German broadcaster ARD and newspaper Zeit said on Tuesday that the operation to place explosives on the seabed was carried out by six people, five men and one woman, who used fake passports.
According to the report and prosecutors, they transported explosives on a yacht rented from a German charter company by a Poland-based company owned by Ukrainian citizens.
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