Investigators in Germany are examining evidence suggesting a sabotage team used Poland as an operating base to blow up the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
The investigators reconstructed the two-week voyage of the Andromeda, a 50-foot (15-metre) yacht suspected of being involved in the sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, the newspaper said.
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The Journal on Saturday cited people familiar with the voyage as indicating the sabotage crew placed deep-sea explosives on Nord Stream 1, before they set the vessel on a course towards Poland. It added Germany was trying to match DNA samples found on the vessel “to at least one Ukrainian soldier”.
The evidence included data from the Andromeda’s radio and navigation equipment, as well as satellite and mobile phones and Gmail accounts allegedly used by the perpetrators, WSJ reported.
“Taken together, the details show that the boat sailed around each of the locations where the blasts later took place – evidence that fortified investigators’ belief that the Andromeda was instrumental in last year’s destruction of the pipeline,” it said.
Investigators began looking at the vessel after a tip from a Western intelligence service, the newspaper said.
Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office and Poland’s government spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“Information about Polish or Ukrainian clues in the destruction of NS1 and NS2, repeated in the media space, is consistently used by the Russian apparatus of influence to create the impression/presumption among the recipients that Warsaw and Kiev were behind this incident,” Stanislaw Zaryn, deputy to Poland’s minister coordinator of special services, wrote on Twitter.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 put Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas in the political spotlight. The destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines hastened the region’s switch to other energy suppliers.
Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported the US government learned from a European intelligence agency of a secret plan by Ukraine’s military to attack the pipelines using divers, who reported directly to the commander-in-chief of the armed forces three months before the September 2022 explosions.
On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denied his government’s involvement in the sabotage of the gas pipelines.
“I am the president and I give orders accordingly. Nothing of the sort has been done by Ukraine. I would never act that way,” Zelenskyy said, asking for proof of Ukrainian involvement.
German media in March identified the possible involvement of a yacht from a Poland-based company owned by Ukrainian citizens in the attack.