Western officials do not rule out Russia’s involvement in the Nord Stream bombings

Western officials have not ruled out Russian involvement in the bombings that destroyed the Nord Stream gas pipelines last year, urging caution despite recent reports that the attackers may have links to Ukraine.

On Wednesday, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius did not rule out that Russia could have committed the attacks that damaged the gas pipelines connecting Russia with Western Europe, the perpetrators and motives of which are still unknown.

The head of NATO and the EU’s top diplomat confirmed Pistorius’s reluctance to blame, while national investigations are still ongoing in Denmark, Germany and Sweden after media reports suggested a pro-Ukraine group carried out the attack.

German media reported on Tuesday that investigators had determined that the boat believed to have been used in last year’s attack was chartered by a Poland-based company with Ukrainian owners and had traces of explosives on board.

But Pistorius said the attackers may have deliberately left misleading clues in a so-called “false flag” operation.

See also  Vogue manufacturers fail to sort out waste and unfair pay, says trade report

“It wouldn’t be the first time in history,” he said.

Germany’s attorney general’s office confirmed on Wednesday that it had searched a ship in January suspected of being “used to transport explosive devices” in connection with the underwater bombings that damaged pipelines in the Baltic Sea in September.

They said it was not yet possible to make a “reliable statement” about whether the attack was state-ordered. According to the office, the employees of the German company that owns the ship were not suspected of any violation of the law.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg cautioned against a journalist’s question as to whether the alliance could confirm that Ukraine was involved in the sabotage.

“We could not establish who was behind it [it].” he said. “National investigations are ongoing and I think it is right to wait until they are final before we say anything about who is behind it. [it].”

“I am not afraid of the truth,” said Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat. “But that’s what we’re talking about. . . speculations. While the investigations are ongoing, we cannot draw any definitive conclusions.”

See also  RMT sets new Christmas strike dates, urges rejection of latest pay offer

Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson said he “does not want to draw any conclusions about attribution.”

Ukraine on Tuesday denied any involvement in the bombings.

The attacks came several months after Russia halted gas shipments through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which has been operating since 2011. The Nord Stream 2 pipelines, which were planned to be operational in 2022, were blocked by German regulators months before Russia invaded Ukraine. .

Pistorius added that even if the perpetrators were found to be Ukrainian, it would be important to “clearly distinguish” whether the group acted with the knowledge of the Ukrainian government.

Source: https://www.ft.com/content/32e55840-460d-43ff-a9a4-8887437ce77a