Friday, June 21, 2024

“Senior Ukraine official behind Nord Stream blasts”

A Ukrainian military officer serving with the nation’s Special Operations Forces played a key role in the attack on Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipelines in autumn 2022, the Washington Post reported on Saturday, citing sources among Ukrainian and other European officials, as well as “people knowledgeable about the details of the covert operation.”

The Post claims that Roman Chervinsky, a Ukrainian colonel, 48, was reportedly responsible for managing logistics and support for a six-person sabotage team that carried out the attack. The man reportedly had deep ties with Ukrainian intelligence and the military. 

He allegedly served with a Special Operations Forces unit responsible for coordinating sabotage and subversive activities. The officer also occupied senior positions in the Ukrainian military intelligence and the national security service (SBU) and was “personally close to key military and security leaders,” the US media outlet said. 

Chervinsky reported to Major General Viktor Hanushchak, who communicated directly with Ukraine’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, according to the Post. 

The officer did not lead the Nord Stream sabotage operation, the Washington Post reported, adding that he did not act alone and was not responsible for the planning, but was merely acting on orders from more senior Ukrainian officials reporting to Zaluzhny. 

Chervinsky denied having any role in the sabotage through his attorney. “All speculations about my involvement in the attack on Nord Stream are being spread by Russian propaganda without any basis,” he said in a written statement to the US media outlet. He was arrested in April 2023 on charges of abusing his power in another Ukrainian intelligence operation. The man claimed that his arrest was politically motivated and accused senior officials in President Vladimir Zelensky’s administration, including top adviser Andrey Yermak, of being Russian “spies.” 

In August, German media reported that all evidence in the Nord Stream sabotage case points to Ukraine. Those familiar with the probe “consider the clues [pointing to] Ukraine to be particularly convincing,” Germany’s ZDF broadcaster said at the time, adding that “there is no reliable evidence” that would suggest Russia was behind the attack.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which were built to deliver Russian natural gas to Germany, were destroyed by underwater explosions off the Danish island of Bornholm in September 2022. Western media outlets have reported that the evidence so far uncovered in the case points to Ukraine. Kiev has denied involvement in the incident.

The attack was allegedly carried out by a group of saboteurs that chartered a yacht – the Andromeda – using a fake passport. The vessel was reportedly used to transport explosives to the site. According to German media reports in August, the group that chartered the yacht was in Ukraine before and after the explosions took place.

Although several European nations, including Germany, Sweden, and Denmark, launched probes into the incident, none of the claims made by the media about the identities of the alleged perpetrators have been confirmed or denied by officials to date.

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