Ukraine special-forces colonel played a key role in sabotaging the Nord Stream gas pipelines, a report says

Nord Stream pipeline leak
An investigation by two international newspapers found that a Ukrainian military official orchestrated the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines.Danish Defence Command
  • The Nord Stream gas pipelines were damaged in an attempted sabotage last year.

  • A new investigation found that a senior Ukrainian military official coordinated the attack.

  • But the investigation said President Zelenskyy likely did not have knowledge of the plot.

A senior Ukrainian military official played a key role in sabotaging the Nord Stream gas pipelines last year, according to an investigation by two international newspapers.

The pipelines, which transported natural gas from Russia to Germany, were damaged in a series of underwater bombings last year, sparking multiple investigations and resulting in both Russia and Ukraine pointing the finger at each other.

The Washington Post and the German outlet Der Spiegel said in a joint investigation published Saturday that Roman Chervinsky, 48, a colonel who served in Ukraine's special-operations forces, was the "coordinator" of the operation.

The investigation provides the most direct evidence yet linking Ukraine to the sabotage.

Chervinsky did not plan the operation or act alone, but he managed the logistics support for a six-person team that traveled in a sailboat — that they'd rented using fake identities — and used deep-sea diving equipment to place explosive charges on the pipelines, The Washington Post said.

The papers' investigation is based on interviews with Ukrainian officials, other European officials, and other people with inside knowledge of the operation speaking anonymously.

The colonel has deep ties to Ukraine intelligence services and took orders from the country's top general, Valery Zaluzhny, the paper reported.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has long denied his country's involvement in the attacks, which resulted in massive gas leaks and strained diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Western countries.

But The Post reported that Zelenskyy would not have known about the Nord Stream operation and that those involved reported to Zaluzhny.

This conclusion is based on intelligence reporting obtained by the CIA through the accused Pentagon leaker Jack Teixeira.

Chervinsky denied his role in the attacks in a statement to the papers through his lawyer: "All speculations about my involvement in the attack on Nord Stream are being spread by Russian propaganda without any basis."

Chervinsky is currently being held in a Kyiv jail over a plot to lure a Russian pilot to defect to Ukraine last year. He's accused of inadvertently revealing a Ukrainian airfield's coordinates while carrying out his plot, which led to a Russian rocket attack.

The blasts in September last year damaged three of the four pipelines that make up Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2.

Ukraine had long said the pipelines would let Russia circumvent Ukrainian pipes, leading to a loss of transit revenue for Kyiv.

The pipelines were not operational at the time of the attack due to disputes between Russia and the European Union.

Read the original article on Business Insider