German journalists investigate ‘new Ukrainian connections’ to Nord Stream explosions
On September 26, it became known about a sharp drop in pressure in the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream-2 (Photo:Danish Defence Command/Handout via REUTERS)
A man from Ukraine was among those who rented a yacht which could have been used to sabotage the Nord Stream 1 and 2 undersea gas pipelines, journalists from Germany Tagesschau TV on May 21 has claimed.
The investigation was jointly conducted by NDR and WDR media companies together with newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, as well as Sweden Expressen, Polish Frontstory, and Danish Berlingske.
The yacht mentioned is the 15-meter-long Andromeda, which has already figured in other similar investigations. According to a media report, a group of five men and a woman with forged passports left the port in the German city of Rostock on the yacht, which was allegedly rented by a Polish company owned by Ukrainians.
The journalists said they had discovered that the company was a travel agency from Warsaw. Over 100 businesses are registered at the same address. The company hasn't had any notable turnover for years, however it received about EUR 2.8 million ($3 million) in 2022 with no justification provided.
According to the investigation, a woman from Kyiv was appointed as the president of the company. However, she could also have been a figurehead.
German security services also found another "Ukrainian trail" leading to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Tagesschau wrote. Among the people who rented the yacht and went to sea on it was a person holding a Romanian passport in the name of "Stefan M." However, a person with this name and the date of birth was in Romania at the time of the sabotage.
The yacht was rented by a man aged 20 who lives to the north east of Kyiv, they said. The journalists claimed that they have identified this person, who appeared sometimes in a military uniform with a helmet and tattoos on Facebook. He serves in an infantry unit and hasn't left Ukraine since fall 2022, according to his relatives.
Poland and Ukraine accuse Russia of causing the explosions that destroyed the pipelines last September. The Kremlin's regime, in turn, said it was "Anglo-Saxons" (the Russian term for the United States and the UK), while denying any involvement.
What’s known about Nord Stream explosions
Three out of four Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were heavily damaged by explosions in neutral waters on the seabed of the Baltic Sea on overnight Sept. 26, 2022. They were out of service at that time, but filled with gas.
A team of journalists from Scandinavian countries published on May 3 the results of their investigation proving that Russian warships able to perform underwater operations were spotted at least three times at the site of gas leaks, shortly before the explosions hit the Nord Stream pipelines.
Swedish investigators reported in November 2022 that traces of explosives were found at the site of the damaged Nord Stream gas pipelines.
U.S. newspaper the New York Times reported on March 7 that a "pro-Ukrainian group" may be involved in the incident, citing U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
German media, meanwhile, revealed that a yacht which could have been used for the sabotage belongs to Ukrainians.
Ukraine had nothing to do with the explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, said Mykhailo Podolyak, the presidential advisor.
Ukraine's Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov claimed that it is a pretty strange story which has nothing to do with Ukraine.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius also said that it was "necessary to refrain from making premature accusations." According to him, the sabotage of the pipelines could have been a "false flag operation" to later be blamed on Ukraine.
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