West's contradictory information makes their investigation on Nord Stream pipeline less credible
Published: Nov 12, 2023 09:09 PM
A view of the Nord Stream 2 gas leak just south of Dueodde, Denmark, on September 27, 2022. Photo: IC.

A view of the Nord Stream 2 gas leak just south of Dueodde, Denmark, on September 27, 2022. Photo: IC.

As German and US media reports exposed that a senior Ukrainian military officer with deep ties to the country's intelligence services allegedly played a central role in the bombing of the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines last year, experts said on Sunday that various contradictory information released by the US and the West would make their investigation results less credible and they warned that the US and the West are trying to shift the blame onto the Ukrainians.

A joint investigation by The Washington Post newspaper and German outlet Der Spiegel, published on Saturday, singled out Roman Chervinsky, a 48-year-old who served in Ukraine's Special Operations Forces.

The Ukrainian officer's alleged role provides the most direct evidence to date tying Ukraine's military and security leadership to the sabotage that spawned multiple criminal investigations, according to The Washington Post.

Chervinsky, a decorated colonel, was the "coordinator" of the Nord Stream operation, people familiar with his role said, managing logistics and support for a six-person team that rented a sailboat under false identities and used deep-sea diving equipment to place explosive charges on the gas pipelines. 

On September 26, 2022, three explosions caused massive leaks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which run from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. The attack hit civilian infrastructure built to provide energy to millions of people in Europe.

However, experts warned that the inconsistent rhetoric from the US and the West is an attempt to shift the blame to Ukrainians who are incapable of taking responsibility.

The report published by The Washington Post on Saturday comes after Pulitzer Prize-winning US reporter Seymour Hersh's report in February had revealed that the Nord Stream incident was led by US intelligence services, and that the US and Europe need to take responsibility.

In the future, in the case of peace talks with Russia and coordination to restore normal relations, the Nord Stream incident will always be a problem, Cui Heng, a scholar from the China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation, told the Global Times on Sunday.

The US and Europe fear that they will be held accountable, or even need to make compensation, so they are now shifting the blame onto the Ukrainians, Cui said. "They know that Ukraine is not in a position to take responsibility and that Chervinsky, who is being held in a Kiev jail, is not acting on behalf of the Ukrainian government. This role is very useful to them."

Russia alleged that Washington was behind the attack, with Russian President Vladimir Putin in March dismissing the argument that Ukraine was behind the explosions, media reported.

However, Russia cannot go directly to the site of the explosion of the Nord Stream pipeline to investigate and collect evidence. Therefore, no matter how close the Russian investigation results are to the truth, they are difficult to be accepted especially by the US and the West. But so much contradictory information released by the US and the West already would make their investigation results less credible, experts said.

Analysts suggest that if the international community wish to have a fair and objective investigation into the incident, it is better to conduct a comprehensive investigation with the participation of a joint mechanism of international organizations with international credibility, for example, the United Nations or the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. 

The Nord Stream explosion is not just between Russia and Ukraine, nor is it just between Russia and NATO, it has set a very bad precedent as an act of state terrorism against critical international infrastructure in the event of a geopolitical conflict, Cui noted.