Dutch tipped off US about alleged Ukrainian plan to blow up Nord Stream

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FILE – In this Friday, April 9, 2010 file photo a Russian construction worker smokes in Portovaya Bay some 170 kms (106 miles) north-west from St. Petersburg, Russia, during a ceremony marking the start of Nord Stream pipeline construction. Merkel and Putin will meet on Saturday in the German government’s guesthouse Meseberg, north of Berlin, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. The topics will include the civil war in Syria, the conflict in Ukraine, and energy questions. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, file) Dmitry Lovetsky/AP

Dutch tipped off US about alleged Ukrainian plan to blow up Nord Stream

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A Dutch military intelligence agency tipped off the CIA last June about Ukraine’s alleged plan to attack the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline linking Russia to Germany, prompting the U.S. to warn Kyiv not to move forward with its plans, according to new reports from Dutch and German broadcasters.

The new report comes nearly 10 months after the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines were exploded last fall, in an act that the U.S. and other allies have described as an act of “sabotage,” though so far none have determined who is responsible for the attack.

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According to Dutch broadcaster NOS, the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) warned the CIA in June 2022 about Ukraine’s plans to attack the natural gas pipeline.

The Dutch military intelligence agency had obtained the information from a source in Ukraine, according to NOS, which cited research from German media outlets Die Zeit and ARD.

The CIA was alarmed by the reports, prompting it to warn Kyiv not to attack the gas pipelines. It then also shared the information with its counterparts in Germany and other European countries.

After the warning, Ukraine agreed to cancel its plans, according to NOS.

But just three months later, both the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were hit by a series of explosions that closely resembled Kyiv’s plans, as derailed by an alleged copy of the intelligence memo, which was shared on the chat platform Discord and allegedly leaked by Jack Teixeira, the Air National Guard member accused of leaking a tranche of top-secret government documents onto the site.

According to a copy of the memo, reported last week by the Washington Post, Ukraine planned to carry out an attack using divers from its special military forces team.

All members of the group were to report directly to Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Ukraine’s highest-ranking military officer, who was tapped to head up the operation so as to give Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky plausible deniability in any attack.

According to the intelligence summary, the military divers had planned to attack the Nord Stream pipeline following a massive allied naval exercise known as BALTOPS, which took place from June 5-17.

It said the military operation was “put on hold” for unknown reasons. The intelligence report also did not mention Nord Stream 2, the second pipeline linking Russia to Germany, which was not yet operational at the time of the explosions.

The twin Nord Stream gas pipelines were hit by four undersea blasts in September. European officials said the explosions caused “extensive damage” to Nord Stream 1, the main gas artery linking Russia to the EU and supplying the bulk of the bloc’s supplies until Moscow began throttling its deliveries last summer.

Where things stand

Germany, Sweden, and Denmark are each conducting investigations into the blasts, and all three investigations remain ongoing. Ukraine has denied responsibility for the attacks.

German investigators have said they believe six people used fake passports to rent a yacht called the Andromeda to transport the explosives and plant them on the Baltic Sea floor at three separate locations along the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines.

Authorities said previously that they believe those involved are skilled divers, given that the explosives were planted at a depth of about 240 feet.

German officials also said they matched traces of the same explosive residue found on the exploded pipeline with residue found inside the cabin of the rented yacht.

In March, unnamed U.S. officials briefed on new intelligence said that pro-Ukrainian actors, likely Ukrainian or Russian nationals, were behind the explosions, the New York Times reported.

U.S. officials said at the time they did not have evidence that the group was tied to Zelensky or that the perpetrators were acting on the orders of any Ukrainian government officials.

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To date, no Western leaders have assigned any blame in the attacks, though they have all described the blasts as an act of sabotage, and say a state actor is involved.

The CIA and MIVD did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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