The name of the Ukrainian suspect behind the sabotage ?has been circulating in intelligence secrets for months,? outlet claims
Western intelligence agencies determined almost immediately that last year’s Nord Stream blasts had been orchestrated by a person with ties to Ukraine, but chose to withhold this information to avoid a diplomatic row between Kiev and Berlin, The Times reported on Wednesday.
According to the outlet, a week after the September 2022 attack on the gas pipelines connecting Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea, a Scandinavian delegation learned that it was staged “by a private venture originating in Ukraine.” They are said to have received this information at an intelligence briefing in Brussels.
“The name of the suspected private sponsor [of the attack]… has been circulating in intelligence classifieds for months but has not been disclosed, the report said.
Without publishing any names, The Times identified the culprit as a Ukrainian with no ties to the government in Kiev. It also said the suspect “appears to have left a strange business card,” without elaborating.
The delegation was also said to have been told to deflect any questions about why the investigation into the case was proceeding at such a slow pace.
The outlet suggested that NATO officials apparently wanted to “protect Ukraine from a public spat with Germany.” At the time of the incident, Berlin was reluctant to supply Kiev with Leopard 2 tanks without allied support. Germany changed its mind in January 2023, with several other Western nations also committing to supply tanks.
The report comes after The New York Times claimed on Tuesday, citing anonymous sources, that a “pro-Ukraine group” may have been behind the attack on the pipelines. On the same day, German media claimed that investigators probing the incident had found that the yacht reportedly used in the attack belonged to a Polish-based company owned by two Ukrainians.
Commenting on these reports, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said the allegations look like “a coordinated media hoax campaign” and an attempt to divert attention from the real perpetrators.
Last month, prominent American journalist Seymour Hersh released an investigation that blamed Washington for orchestrating the Nord Stream attacks. While the White House has denied any responsibility, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland suggested in January that Washington must be “very happy to know” that Nord Stream 2 is no longer operational.