In Nord Stream bombings probe, German investigators see Ukraine link, reports say – POLITICO

BERLIN — German prosecutors have discovered “traces” of proof indicating that Ukrainians could have been concerned within the explosions that blew up the Nord Stream gasoline pipelines in September 2022, in accordance with German media reports Tuesday.

Investigators recognized a ship that was doubtlessly used for transporting a crew of six folks, diving tools and explosives into the Baltic Sea in early September. Expenses have been then positioned on the pipelines, in accordance with a joint investigation by German public broadcasters ARD and SWR in addition to the newspaper Die Zeit.

The German reports mentioned that the yacht had been rented from an organization based mostly in Poland that’s “apparently owned by two Ukrainians.”

Nevertheless, no clear proof has been established to this point on who ordered the assault, the reports mentioned.

In its first response, Ukraine’s authorities dismissed the reports.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, denied the Ukrainian authorities had any involvement within the pipeline assaults. “Though I get pleasure from gathering amusing conspiracy theories concerning the Ukrainian authorities, I’ve to say: Ukraine has nothing to do with the Baltic Sea mishap and has no details about ‘pro-Ukraine sabotage teams,'” Podolyak wrote in a tweet.

Three of the 4 pipes making up the Nord Stream 1 and a couple of undersea gasoline pipelines from Russia to Germany have been destroyed by explosions final September. Germany, Sweden and Denmark launched investigations into an incident that was shortly established to be a case of “sabotage.”

The German media reports — which come on high of a New York Occasions report Tuesday which mentioned that “intelligence suggests {that a} pro-Ukrainian group” sabotaged the pipelines — stress that there is not any proof that Ukrainian authorities ordered the assault or have been concerned in it.

Any potential involvement by Kyiv within the assault would threat straining relations between Ukraine and Germany, which is among the most necessary suppliers of civilian and army help to the nation because it fights towards Russia’s full-scale invasion.

In accordance with the investigation by German public prosecutors that’s cited by the German shops, the workforce which positioned the explosive expenses on the pipelines was comprised of 5 males — a captain, two divers and two diving assistants — in addition to one girl physician, all of them of unknown nationality and working with false passports. They left the German port of Rostock on September 6 on the rented boat, the report mentioned.

It added that the yacht was later returned to the proprietor “in uncleaned situation” and that “on the desk within the cabin, the investigators have been capable of detect traces of explosives.”

However the reports additionally mentioned that investigators cannot exclude that the potential hyperlink to Ukraine was a part of a “false flag” operation aiming to pin the blame on Kyiv for the assaults.

Contacted by POLITICO, a spokesperson for the German authorities referred to ongoing investigations by the German prosecutor normal’s workplace, which declined to remark.

The federal government spokesperson additionally mentioned: “just a few days in the past, Sweden, Denmark and Germany knowledgeable the United Nations Safety Council that investigations have been ongoing and that there was no outcome but.”

Russian overseas ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova dismissed the reports of Ukrainian involvement within the Nord Stream bombings, saying in a post on the Telegram social media website that they have been geared toward distracting consideration from earlier, unsubstantiated, reports that the U.S. destroyed the pipelines.

Veronika Melkozerova in Kyiv contributed reporting.

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