the investigation gets into troubled waters
After the New York TimesGerman media evoke the hypothesis of a Ukrainian track behind the sabotage of the gas pipelines.
The official investigation draws in length. A few days ago, Swedish Secretary of State for Defense Peter Sandwall, passing through Paris for an Ifri conference, remained evasive: “She’s still goinghe replied. More than five months after the events, the explosions which hit the two Russian gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2 on September 26 have not yet been identified. Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany are aided in their investigation by the United States. But the conclusions are slow.
“What we do know is that there was an attack, but we haven’t been able to determine who was behind it yet.“, commented Wednesday in Stockholm the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, reacting to the hypothesis of a Ukrainian track. The sabotage of Nord Stream could serve as a textbook case for the analysis of the war “hybrid“, the one located “under the thresholdof the conflict, where designating an attacker implies taking a risk. If a culprit is revealed, Westerners will not be able to remain without reaction.
A suspicious ship
The latest revelations from the press have caused confusion. After the accusations by the sulphurous American journalist Seymour Hersh (known for his scoops against the American army but also for having denied Syria’s use of chemical weapons) designating the United States as responsible for the operation, the New York Times evoked another track: that of a group “pro-Ukrainianor opponents of Vladimir Putin. The formula is vague. The prestigious daily quotes a source in American intelligence.
Several German media, including Die Zeit and the ARD, gave Wednesday more details which could support this hypothesis. German investigators reportedly identified a yacht, rented through a Polish company owned by two Ukrainians, which was used for the operation. The boat is said to have left the port of Rostock on September 6. The German Federal Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the search of a suspicious vessel in January. Traces of explosives were found there. Five men and a woman are said to have taken part in the operation: two divers, two assistants, a doctor and the captain of the boat. They allegedly used fake passports.
The Ukrainian government has denied any responsibility for the sabotage. “It’s like a compliment to our special forces. But this does not come from our action!“, quipped the Minister of Defense, Oleksiy Reznikov. Such an operation requires skills that the Ukrainian navy was not known to have. But laid at shallow depth, Nord Stream gas pipelines are relatively accessible.
The possibility is “just as strong” that it is “a staging to accuse Ukraine”, insisted Boris Pistorius, the German Minister of Defense
The Russian track, explored initially, is now called into question. As of the autumn, the analysts indeed wondered about the motivations which the Kremlin would have had to destroy its own infrastructures, except to make a demonstration of force with less risk, or to want to make carry the hat with others. On Wednesday, Moscow once again protested against the “lack of transparencyof the survey and asked to have access to it. Draped in the clothes of the victim, Russia recalled the visceral opposition of the United States to the Nord Stream project. From there to let make a barbouzerie?
The Western embarrassment is complete. The German Minister of Defense, Boris Pistorius, tried on Wednesday to distinguish the scenarios, without deciding for one or the other: is it “from a Ukrainian group“or an operation carried out”by Ukrainian order“, or “of a pro-Ukrainian group acting without the knowledge of the government…“, he detailed, advising to avoid hasty conclusions. The possibility is “just as strong” whether “of a staging to accuse Ukraine“, he insisted. Those responsible for the sabotage, whoever they are, were able to cover their tracks.