Anonymous US officials have stated that “unspecified new intelligence suggests that a pro-Ukrainian group” is suspected to have been responsible for the September 2022 bombing of Nord Stream pipelines, according to The New York Times.
The officials, who spoke to the newspaper on the condition of anonymity, believe that the saboteurs were most likely Ukrainian or Russian nationals who support Ukraine or some combination of both.
The officials could not say who directed or paid for the operation, but they did note that it was possible that the attack was conducted by a proxy force with connections to the Ukrainian government or its security services.
The officials believed that “experienced divers” were most likely the ones who planted the bombs that destroyed three out of four pipeline strings at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
The saboteurs did not appear to be working for military or intelligence services but may have received “specialized government training in the past,” according to the officials.
The U.S. officials stated that President Joe Biden and his top aides did not authorize the attack on Nord Stream and that there was no U.S. involvement in the incident.
These statements come in response to a report last month by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who claimed that the U.S. had ordered the bombing and planted the explosives.
Although Western European officials believe that the attack was state-sponsored, U.S. officials have not publicly stated that they believe the operation was sponsored by a state.
Some officials see “Ukraine and its allies” as having the most logical potential motive to destroy the pipelines. However, it is unclear who these allies are.
While Poland has been the most outspoken critic of Nord Stream, the U.S., and the entire NATO bloc have provided over “$100 billion worth of weapons and other aid” to Ukraine over the past year.
The officials warned that if the investigation were to put blame on Kiev or Ukrainian proxies, it could prompt a backlash in Europe and make it harder for the West to maintain a united front in support of Ukraine.
Anonymous U.S. spies had previously told the Times that they believed “elements” within the Ukrainian government were responsible, but they did not name anyone.
The Ukrainian government has officially denied any responsibility for the attack.
In early February, a report by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claimed the bombing of the Nord Stream gas lines was a covert operation orchestrated by the White House and carried out by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).