March 2. 2024. 3:04

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Ukraine war: Kyiv officials dismiss claims that Ukraine was involved in Nord Stream explosion

Ukraine has dismissed claims by German investigators and US intelligence that a yacht with links to Ukrainian saboteurs was used to plant explosives at the undersea Nord Stream pipelines last September.

German investigators have identified a yacht likely to have transported the perpetrators to the site of the explosions, according to a report by Die Zeit weekly and German public television.

The yacht, based in Poland and owned by two Ukrainians, is believed to have had a crew of five men and one woman: a captain, two divers, two diving assistants and a doctor. It reportedly departed from the German Baltic port of Rostock on September 6th last year, 20 days ahead of the attack, and transported explosives and deposited them at the explosion site.

According to German reports the nationality of the perpetrators is unclear, and they are said to have used forged passports in their mission, including to rent the boat and transported cargo using a delivery truck.

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Ukraine war: Kyiv officials dismiss claims that Ukraine was involved in Nord Stream explosion

Ukraine war: Kyiv officials dismiss claims that Ukraine was involved in Nord Stream explosion

The explosions last September rocked three of the four pipelines near the Danish Baltic Sea island of Bornholm, flooding the structures with seawater.

A day after the explosion, investigators tracked the boat first to the nearby Darß peninsula and then Christiansø, an island near Bornholm.

Last autumn, German investigators reportedly received a tip-off from a western intelligence service that a Ukrainian commando was behind the explosion. Since then, other indications have emerged of Ukrainian involvement, according to Die Zeit.

The German investigators stress they have yet to find concrete links to Ukraine amid fears it could be a “false flag” operation – with a third country perpetrator planting clues linking the attack to Ukraine.

US intelligence officials have shared similar claims of Ukrainian links to the explosions with the New York Times, prompting Kyiv officials to respond swiftly.

“Although I enjoy collecting amusing conspiracy theories about the [Ukrainian] government, I have to say: [Ukraine] has nothing to do with the Baltic Sea mishap and has no information about ‘pro-[Ukraine] sabotage groups,’” wrote Mr Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian journalist and leading presidential adviser, on Twitter.

According to the New York Times, some – though not all – in US intelligence circles believe the saboteurs were loyal to Ukraine but acted independently of Kyiv.

A spokesman for the US National Security Council insisted Washington was “not going to get ahead of investigative work” in Europe.

Three separate investigations are under way by German, Swedish and Danish teams into who carried out the attacks, which shut down the older Nord Stream 1 pipeline and wrecked the newly completed Nord Stream 2 pipelines before they were opened.

After initial suspicions of Moscow involvement, investigators have yet to produce any evidence of Russian involvement. Russia has consistently denied involvement and blamed western rivals for the explosions.

A Kremlin spokesman described the report as “obvious misinformation campaign co-ordinated by the media”.

“Clearly, the authors of the attack want to divert attention,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, to Russian state media RIA Novosti on Wednesday. “This is an obvious misinformation campaign co-ordinated by the media.”