Ukraine was behind the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines during the Russia-Ukraine War, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.
“A senior Ukrainian military officer with deep ties to the country’s intelligence services played a central role in the bombing of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline last year, according to officials in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe, as well as other people knowledgeable about the details of the covert operation,” WaPo reported.
The officer’s role presents the most conclusive evidence thus far linking the military and security leadership of Ukraine to a contentious act of sabotage dubbed a “dangerous assault on Europe’s energy infrastructure” by U.S. and Western officials and which has prompted numerous criminal investigations.
According to the report, the decorated 48-year-old colonel Roman Chervinsky, who served in Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces, oversaw logistics and support for a six-person team that rented a sailboat under false pretenses and used deep-sea diving equipment to place explosive charges on gas pipelines.
Chervinsky was the “coordinator” of the Nord Stream operation, according to the report. Three explosions on September 26, 2022, caused enormous breaches along the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which traverse the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. As winter neared, the attack compromised only one of the four gas connections in the network.
Chervinsky did not act alone, nor did he devise the operation, according to individuals with knowledge of his role, neither of which have been disclosed previously.
According to sources with knowledge of the operation’s execution, the officer received directives from higher-ranking Ukrainian officials, who ultimately reported to Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, the highest-ranking military officer in Ukraine. To discuss sensitive details regarding the bombing, which has strained diplomatic relations with Ukraine and prompted objections from U.S. officials, they requested anonymity.
Numerous audacious and covert operations have been initiated by Ukraine against Russian forces. The objective of the Nord Stream attack, however, was to destroy civilian infrastructure that supplied energy to millions of Europeans. Despite the fact that Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas conglomerate, owns 51% of Nord Stream, the project has received billions of dollars in investments from Western energy companies, including those from Germany, France, and the Netherlands, which are partners. Long had Ukraine objected to the fact that Nord Stream would enable Russia to circumvent Ukrainian pipelines, depriving the country of enormous transit revenues.
Chervinsky, via his counsel, refuted any involvement in the pipeline sabotage. “Without merit, Russian propaganda is spreading all rumors regarding my participation in the assault on Nord Stream,” Chervinsky stated in a written statement to The Washington Post and Der Spiegel, which jointly investigated his activities.
The Ukrainian government failed to provide responses to a series of inquiries pertaining to Chervinsky’s involvement.
Chervinsky’s position exemplifies the intricate dynamics and internal rivalries of the wartime government in Kyiv, where the political leadership and intelligence and military establishment of Ukraine are frequently at odds.
According to sources with knowledge of his assignments, Chervinsky had been stationed in a unit of the Ukrainian Special Operations Forces since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. His duties centered on resistance operations in regions of the country that were under Russian occupation. Zaluzhny was in direct communication with Maj. Gen. Viktor Hanushchak, an esteemed and seasoned officer, to whom he deferred.
Chervinsky was highly qualified to assist in the execution of a covert operation designed to obscure Ukraine’s responsibility. He holds influential positions within the Ukrainian Security Service, the SBU, and the nation’s military intelligence agency. Additionally, he maintains close professional and personal relationships with key military and security figures.
He has additionally assisted in the execution of covert operations.
Chervinsky is incarcerated in a Kyiv prison on suspicion that he misused his authority in connection with a scheme to entice a Russian aviator to defect to Ukraine in July 2022. The prosecution asserts that Chervinsky, who was apprehended in April, operated without authorization and that the disclosure of the Ukrainian airfield’s coordinates by the operation incited a Russian missile assault that resulted in one fatality and seventeen injuries among the soldiers.
Chervinsky has stated that he was not accountable for the Russian attack and was merely carrying out orders when he attempted to convince the pilot to fly to Ukraine and surrender his aircraft. Political retribution, according to him, is the reason for his detention and prosecution for his criticism of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his administration.
Chervinsky has expressed in public his suspicion that one of Zelensky’s closest advisers, Andriy Yermak, is conducting Russian intelligence. His criticisms also include the Zelensky administration’s alleged inadequacy in readinessing the nation for the Russian invasion.
Chervinsky stated in a written statement to The Post and Der Spiegel, “Units of the SBU, the Air Force, and the Special Operations Forces participated in the operation to recruit the Russian pilot.” Commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny gave his approval to the operation.
Chervinsky’s involvement in the Nord Stream assault is in direct opposition to Zelensky’s public denials regarding Ukraine’s involvement.
“I am president and I give orders accordingly,” Zelensky said in press interview in June, responding to a report by the Post that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency had learned of Ukraine’s plans before the attack.
The new report of Ukraine’s involvement in the Nord Stream pipeline bombings increases pressure on U.S. politicians who back continued funding of Ukraine in its stalemated war with Russia.