Who blew up the Nord Stream pipelines? Since the attack on the gas pipeline between Russia and Lubmin last September, a number of nations have been searching for those responsible. The "New York Times" (NYT) now reports, with reference to secret service reports, that a "pro-Ukrainian group" is behind the explosions. However, the US newspaper does not give any details.
"US officials have no evidence that the Ukrainian President and his close associates have any connection to the operation, nor that the perpetrators acted on behalf of the Ukrainian government," the NYT said named US officials. They believe, after reviewing the reports, that the saboteurs are very likely Ukrainians or Russians, or both. American or British citizens are probably not involved.
The two pipelines in the Baltic Sea are around 1,200 kilometers long. While Nord Stream 1 was launched in 2011, Nord Stream 2 was completed but never put into operation due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The attack damaged three of the four tubes near the Danish island of Bornholm. The country's authorities are investigating, as are those of Germany and Sweden - they keep a low profile about their findings. So far, the only certainty is that the destruction of the tubes has no natural cause.
The environmental organization Greenpeace sent a ship to the site of the accident in December to examine the pipelines. A diving robot took pictures from a depth of around 70 meters. Due to the extent of the destruction, one expert estimates that several hundred kilos of explosives were needed for the detonation. The charge was probably detonated in several places at the same time. According to expert Fritz Pfeiffer, a blast from the inside is unlikely.
But who is behind the sabotage is still unclear. Russia itself was and is suspected, among others - even if it is unclear why the government in Moscow should blow up pipelines intended for the export of Russian natural gas. The uncertainty on the gas markets is mentioned as a possible motive. The Russian government has denied any responsibility and pointed the finger at Washington. The US government had opposed the construction of Nord Stream 2 and condemned the project as geopolitical leverage by the Kremlin.
But Ukraine also has a motive for Nord Stream's exit. With the gas pipe, the precious raw material is diverted past the country, which means that the government in Kiev avoids transmission fees. However, official bodies and the local secret service reject any involvement in the attack.
According to the "New York Times", intelligence has revealed that the saboteurs are said to be opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin. So far, however, there is no further information on this. Nor about who could have financed the complex campaign.
At the beginning of February, the well-known US investigative reporter Seymour Hersh caused a sensation with a report according to which the USA is said to have blown up the pipelines. In June, US Navy divers planted explosive devices on the gas pipelines with the help of Norway in a covert operation ordered by the White House and planned by the US foreign intelligence agency CIA. The explosive devices were then remotely detonated in September. The US government has firmly denied this.
Sources: DPA, "New York Times", "Zeit"