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IAA PortNews is not the author of this article and the editorial opinion can differ from that of the author.

  • Источник: https://www.bloomberg.com

    2023 March 9

    Germany May Have Identified Ship Involved in Nord Stream Bombing

    German authorities said they searched a vessel that may have transported explosives used in the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines last year, signaling that an investigation may yield more on who was behind it.

    Investigators are probing traces and items found in the search of a vessel from Jan. 18 to 20, the Federal Prosecutor said in a statement on Thursday. Germans working for the company that leased the ship are not under investigation, it said.

    “The identity of the perpetrators and their motives are the subject of the ongoing investigation,” the Federal Prosecutor’s office said in a statement. “At present, it is not possible to make any statements of a concrete nature, in particular on the question of whether this was a state-sponsored action.”

    The probe adds to speculation about the origin of the September attack on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which delivered natural gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. The strike triggered a wave of accusations, with Russia blaming it on sabotage by the US, Ukraine and Poland, calling them “beneficiaries” of the blasts.
    A number of news organizations reported intelligence this week indicating that a pro-Ukrainian group may have been behind the explosion.

    The London-based Times said that western security agencies were aware of a Ukrainian link early on, but they hesitated announcing their findings to prevent tension between Kyiv and Berlin.

    The New York Times said US agencies pointed to sabotage by a group supporting Ukraine, though cited division over fresh intelligence.

    German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius reacted cautiously to the New York Times report, saying that, despite all indications, the origin of the attack remains unknown.

    He noted that any attack carried out by a pro-Ukrainian group doesn’t mean it was ordered from Kyiv — and could also be a so-called false-flag operation designed to disguise the primary actor.

    “There are also indications – not from me, but expert opinions that I don’t necessarily adopt – that it could have been a false operation – which wouldn’t have been the first of its kind in history,” he told reporters before a meeting of European Union ministers in Stockholm Wednesday. “I would warn against making rushed conclusions.”

    The German prosecutor commented after an investigation by German media said that a six-person commando team with falsified passports had rented a ship in the northeastern port city of Rostock.

    The investigation by newspaper Die Zeit, Kontraste magazine and broadcasters ARD and SWR cited evidence yielded by the German investigation. The strike team, consisting of two divers, two assistants, a captain and a doctor, loaded the boat with explosives and laid in a course for the pipeline, the media outlets reported on Tuesday.

    Investigators found traces of the explosives on a table in the ship’s cabin, the outlets reported, saying it indicated a hurried attempt to hide their tracks. The rental was tied to a Polish company owned by two Ukrainians, according to the investigation.

    An western intelligence service that wasn’t identified told allies shortly after the attack on Sept. 26 that a pro-Ukrainian group was likely involved, the outlets reported.