The decade's most triggering comedy
U.S. intelligence officials suggest an unnamed “pro-Ukranian group” carried out last September’s attack on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea, which link natural gas from Russia to Western Europe. Sweden and Denmark reported severe damage to the pipelines in September as natural gas spewed toward the surface of the Baltic Sea.
According to a New York Times report, officials said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky or the national government were not involved in the attack and declined to disclose additional information surrounding the new intelligence obtained. The anonymous officials cited by the Times offered no specifics on the shadowy group they said blew up the pipeline, but insisted the attack did not involve the U.S. or United Kingdom.
Last month, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, in an extensive report on Substack, alleged that U.S. Navy divers planted remotely triggered explosives on the pipeline under cover of training exercises over the summer. The White House and the CIA denied Hersh’s report.
The Daily Mail reported National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby refused to comment on the Times piece in a briefing call to reporters on Tuesday, saying the investigations into the “sabotage” of the pipeline by Germany, Denmark, and Sweden are ongoing.
“There are three investigations going on right now,” Kirby said. “And they aren’t done,” adding the information from those reports has not been released to the public.
The twin Nord Stream pipelines have been at the center of geopolitical strife since before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago. Months into the conflict, Russia nixed shipments through Nord Stream 1 as a retaliatory measure against Western Europe, while Germany blocked the adjacent Nord Stream 2 from initiating shipments days before the war started.
Just before the war began, President Joe Biden warned “there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2” if Russia crossed the Ukrainian border and insisted to a journalist that “we will be able” to bring an “end” to the system.
The commander-in-chief initially waived sanctions against the Russian-owned company behind Nord Stream 2, although he reimposed sanctions shortly before the invasion started.
After the Nord Stream 2 was destroyed, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the phenomenon a “tremendous opportunity” to end European reliance on Russian energy supplies. Even though the pipelines were not pumping natural gas, protesters in Germany had been calling for the energy flow to resume as electricity prices increased more than twentyfold. Crippling the pipelines eliminated the possibility of Germany lifting sanctions in time to import natural gas for the winter.
Ben Zeisloft contributed to this report.