May 24. 2024. 7:02

The Daily

Read the World Today

German investigators confirm search of yacht suspected of role in Nord Stream sabotage

German investigators have confirmed searching a yacht in January they suspect was used in the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines – but, apart from traces of explosives, found no concrete link to any perpetrator.

Media reports on Wednesday in Germany and the US suggested investigators had found links to a Ukraine commando group operating independently of the government in Kyiv.

German investigators have identified a yacht they suspect of departing the German Baltic port of Rostock on September 6th last, 20 days before the attack, to transport explosives to the site.

An investigation by Die Zeit weekly and German public television showed, the yacht, based in Poland and owned by two Ukrainians, had a crew of five men and one woman: a captain, two divers, two diving assistants and a doctor.

READ MORE

German investigators confirm search of yacht suspected of role in Nord Stream sabotage


Russian fighters claim to control half of Bakhmut

Russian fighters claim to control half of Bakhmut

Dublin-based Ovoca Bio agrees disposal of Russian assets

Dublin-based Ovoca Bio agrees disposal of Russian assets

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

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

[ World View: Who blew up Nord Stream 2? ]

On September 26th three explosions and sharp drops in pressure were recorded in the pipelines at a depth of 70m near the island of Bornholm, outside Denmark’s territorial waters but in its exclusive economic zone. Sweden reported a fourth gas leak on September 29th.

A day after the explosion, investigators tracked the boat first to the nearby Darss peninsula and then Christianso, a Danish island near Bornholm.

German reports say investigators are unsure of the suspected perpetrators’ nationality: they reportedly used forged passports in their mission, including to rent the boat, and transported their cargo to the boat using a delivery truck.

Leading Ukrainian officials have dismissed the claims, with defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov calling it was a “rather strange story that has nothing to do with us”.

“It would be a certain compliment to our special forces, but those were not our actions,” said Mr Reznikov at a meeting on Wednesday in Stockholm with Nato members and alliance applicants.

Sweden’s security service confirmed that it had found remnants of explosives near the pipelines last November. On Wednesday, Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson declined to comment on the reports.

Leading politicians and officials in Stockholm, Berlin and Washington have hurried to play down the idea of Ukrainian involvement – while insisting they would not pre-empt the outcome of three separate investigations.

“As long as the investigation is ongoing, any responsible politician will hold back with comments,” said Mr Robert Habeck, federal economics and energy minister in Berlin.

Defence minister Boris Pistorius also warned about drawing hasty conclusions and that investigations were “not robust enough” to approach suspects.

“I recommend calm,” said Mr Pistorius. “There are also indications from experts ... that it could also be a false [flag] operation” – with a third country perpetrator planting clues linking the attack to Ukraine.

Investigators have yet to produce any evidence of Russian involvement. Russia has consistently denied involvement and blamed western rivals for the explosions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian state media RIA Novosti: “This is an obvious misinformation campaign co-ordinated by the media.”