A Special Operations Forces officer of Ukraine led the Nord Stream gas pipelines blast in the Baltic Sea in September 2022, a joint investigation by two international newspapers says.
The investigation carried out by The Washington Post newspaper and German outlet Der Spiegel, published on Saturday, named Roman Chervinsky, 48, as the Ukrainian officer behind the operation.
Chervinsky led the six-man sabotage team that rented a boat and used diving equipment to place explosives on the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, according to the Post.
It added that Chervinsky took his orders from more senior Ukrainian officials, who ultimately reported to General Valerii Zaluzhny, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
However, Ukraine’s President Volodimir Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly denied Kiev’s role in the blast on September 26, 2022, which knocked out three of the four strings of the Nord Stream network off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea.
Zelensky told Germany’s Bild newspaper in June that he would never do such an act.
“I would never do that,” he said, adding that he would “like to see proof.”
Experts, however, say the bombing of the pipelines, which transferred gas from Russia to Germany, benefited Kiev by severely impacting Russia’s revenue from the sale of natural gas to Western Europe.
Earlier reports had said the bombing of the pipelines had been directly ordered by US President Joe Biden and carried out by the CIA with the help of the US Navy.
The White House and the CIA also denied any involvement in the blast.
Two of the pipelines, known collectively as Nord Stream 1, had been providing Germany and much of Western Europe with cheap Russian natural gas for more than a decade.
A second pair of pipelines, known as Nord Stream 2, was completed but not yet operational at the time of the blast.
Following the blast, Denmark, Germany, and Sweden conducted investigations into the matter. The preliminary results of a joint probe by Sweden and Denmark determined that the explosions had been an act of sabotage.
One week before the blast, Russia’s energy minister had announced that the Nord Stream 2 will be “replaced” by an alternative gas pipeline to China as the strategic project has failed to make headway due to the West’s sanctions on Moscow over its special military operation in Ukraine.
Moscow launched its military campaign against Ukraine in February 2022 to stop NATO’s eastward encroachment and Kiev’s persecution of the Russian-speaking population in Donbas.
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