Ukraine plot to attack Russia-Germany Nord Stream pipeline revealed: Washington Post News, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Ukraine plot to attack Russia-Germany Nord Stream pipeline revealed: Washington Post

The Biden administration knew that Ukraine planned to attack a majority Russian-owned natural gas pipeline, owned by Nord Stream, three months ahead of an actual attack on the gas line, according to documents reviewed by the Washington Post. According to a Tuesday report from the Post, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) received information from a Ukrainian individual describing a scheduled bombing of the Nord Stream pipeline on June 5-17, 2022. While the planned attack never occurred in June, on September 26, the Nord Stream pipeline was damaged in an explosion that international officials have since verified resemble the June plan.

While the Washington Post refused to reveal some facts about the operation, after receiving warning that “exposing the information would threaten sources and operations,” they did reveal that the documents contained “highly specific details” such as the number of operatives involved and the planned methods of attack.

The documents describe a bombing to be carried out by the Ukrainian military. Allegedly, Ukrainian commander in chief of the armed forces, General Valery Zaluzhny, handled the operation so as to maintain plausible deniability for Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky. The plan was to gather “a small team of divers” to dive deep into the Baltic Sea to place explosives along the Nord Stream pipeline. According to the Washington Post, “The European intelligence made clear that the would-be attackers were not rogue operatives.”

The documents describe an attack originally planned for sometime between June 5 and June 17, 2022. However, something affected the plan and no attack was carried out in June 2022. Instead, on September 26, 2022, an explosion damaged both of the natural gas lines, which run from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea. Amid Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine and rising tensions between Russia and the West, blame was quickly cast around and multiple investigations launched internationally. At the time, the US said they had no evidence that Zelensky or any of his top officials were involved in the attack.

In March, German media reported that investigators identified evidence connecting the attack to the Ukrainian plans detailed in the documents viewed by the Washington Post. At the time, Ukraine dismissed Germany’s findings. Specifically, German investigators uncovered that both the planned June attack and the actual September attack involved six individuals with fake passports, a rented boat and planted explosives. However, there are some differences. Namely, the documents regarding the June plan did not list the same port that German officials uncovered was used in the actual attack, nor did the documents make any mention of damaging both Nord Stream pipelines.

There are other ongoing investigations as well, including investigations led by Sweden, Denmark and Russia. In February, Russia proposed the UN open an independent international investigation into the September 26 attack, but the vote failed to pass the Security Council—only China and Brazil supported Russia, with the other 12 members abstaining.

The Washington Post obtained the leaked documents via a member of an online Discord server. Jack Teixeira, the US airman currently held on federal criminal charges, allegedly leaked the confidential intelligence documents onto the Discord server earlier. The actual documents are based on information obtained from “an individual in Ukraine.” Originally, European intelligence services compiled the documents, which were then sent to their counterparts in the CIA, Europe and Germany. While Ukraine, the White House and the CIA did not respond to the Washington Post’s efforts to obtain a comment, “multiple countries” confirmed the information contained in the documents.