U.S. intelligence has reportedly said a pro-Ukrainian group was responsible for the damage caused by the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
There is no evidence that the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky The New York Times quoted U.S. officials as saying that Ukrainian government officials or other officials were responsible for the attack that caused the gas to flood the Baltic Sea.
The newspaper added that U.S. officials reviewing the intelligence had not drawn firm conclusions.
The material reportedly points to those behind the attack on the Russian president vladimir putin “But did not specify the members of the group, or who directed or paid for the operation”.
According to The New York Times, “Officials reviewing intelligence said they believed the saboteurs were likely Ukrainian or Russian nationals, or some combination of the two. U.S. officials said no U.S. or British nationals were involved.”
Speculation has swirled for months about who was responsible for the explosion affecting the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which transport Russian gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea.
The spill happened in international waters but within the exclusive economic zones of Denmark and Sweden.
The damaged Nord Stream pipeline, built by Russia’s state-owned energy company Gazprom, has been spewing methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the air for several days.
The US and NATO called the pipeline attack an “act of sabotage”, while Moscow blamed the West.
Denmark, Germany and Sweden said last month that their investigations into the attack had not been concluded.
In response to the Times report, the Kremlin said it was puzzled by how U.S. officials could make any assumptions about the attack without an investigation. Moscow has previously blamed the explosion on the West and said the United States had questions about its role in the likely incident that needed to be answered.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russia’s state-run RIA news agency on Tuesday: “It is clear that the perpetrators of the attack wanted to divert attention. It is clear that this was organized stuffing by the media.”
“How can U.S. officials assume anything without an investigation?”
Mr Peskov also said Nord Stream’s shareholder states should insist on an urgent, transparent investigation.
“We are still not allowed to participate in the investigation. Just a few days ago we were notified about this matter by the Danes and the Swedes,” Mr Peskov said.
“It’s not just weird. It smells like a heinous crime.”
Meanwhile, the Russian embassy in the United States said the reports were intended to confuse those who were “sincerely” trying to find out the truth about the case.
“We simply do not trust and cannot trust any notion of ‘fairness’ in the conclusions of US intelligence.
“We consider the anonymous ‘leak’ to be nothing more than an attempt to confuse anyone who sincerely wishes to find the truth in this blatant crime,” the embassy said on the Telegram messaging platform.
“It’s just a means to deflect suspicion, to have those in official government positions ordering and coordinating
Attack some kind of abstract entity in the Baltic Sea. “
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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Tuesday’s media reports underscored the need for questions from Moscow about what happened.
A top aide to the Ukrainian president, Mikhailo Podolak, said Kiev had “absolutely no involvement” in the blast and did not know what happened.
German broadcaster ARD and Die Zeit reported on Tuesday that German authorities were able to identify the vessel used in the sabotage operation, without citing sources.
Using forged passports, a group of five men and a woman rented a yacht from a Polish company owned by Ukrainian citizens, according to German media reports. The nationality of the perpetrator was not known, they reported.
Investigators found traces of explosives on board the yacht, which was taken from Rostock, Germany, on Sept. 6, ARD and Zeit reported.
They also reported that intelligence suggested pro-Ukrainian groups may have been behind the attack, but German authorities have yet to find any evidence.