U.S. Thinks Pro-Ukrainian Group Blew Up Nord Stream Pipelines, Report Says


New U.S. intelligence indicates a pro-Ukrainian group was responsible for exploding the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines last year, U.S. officials told the New York Times, the first results of a months-long investigation into a series of mysterious leaks on the Russian-owned undersea pipelines months after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Key Facts

Intelligence officials believe a group of Ukrainian or Russian nationals—or a combination of the two—sabotaged the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines that link Russia with Germany in September, the Times reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

There is no evidence suggesting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky or the Ukrainian government were responsible, officials said, though intelligence suggests the perpetrators opposed Russian President Vladimir Putin.

European officials previously told the Washington Post there is no evidence that the Russian government was involved in the attack, with some officials arguing Russia was unlikely to deliberately blow up a pipeline that it uses to export gas to Europe.

What We Don’t Know

It is still unknown what group carried out the attack or how the attack transpired, and it is also unknown how long it will take investigators to reach a conclusion about the perpetrators.

What To Watch For

Even if evidence suggests the Ukrainian government was not involved, a Ukrainian link to the Nord Stream attack could negatively impact that country’s relationship with Germany. The pipelines connect Russia to Germany’s northeastern coastline via the Baltic Sea, forging an economic link between the two countries, though Germany has quickly slashed its reliance on Russian natural gas since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago.

Big Number

$12 billion. That’s how much the Nord Stream 1 pipeline cost to construct, according to Reuters.

Key Background

Swedish officials reported in September that leaks were found in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, hours after Denmark announced there was a leak in Nord Stream 2. All the leaks appeared near the island of Bornholm, a Danish territory in the Baltic Sea. The Swedish Security found “detonations” near both pipelines following a preliminary probe, suggesting the pipelines were blown up. Nord Stream 2 was completed in 2021, over 11 years after its counterpart was finished. German officials have been criticized for the pipelines because they increased European dependence on Russian gas, resulting in an energy crisis across the continent after Russia invaded Ukraine. The undersea Nord Stream projects also made gas pipelines that ran over land through Ukraine less necessary, depriving Ukraine of a major revenue source. Nord Stream 2 never entered service after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz dropped its certification days before Russia invaded Ukraine. A decision not to certify the new pipeline was supported by officials in the U.S., UK, Poland and Ukraine, among others, as an attempt to sanction Russia—which previously supplied about 39% of Europe’s gas—over its threats to invade.


The pipeline explosions have caused widespread speculation, including accusations by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh that the U.S. government carried out the attack at the direction of President Joe Biden—a claim U.S. officials have vehemently denied.

Further Reading

Intelligence Suggests Pro-Ukrainian Group Sabotaged Pipelines, U.S. Officials Say (New York Times)

Unexplained Leaks Hit Russia’s Shuttered Gas Pipelines To Europe (Forbes)

Germany Stops Approval Of $11 Billion Nord Stream 2 Pipeline With Russia (Forbes)

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tylerroush/2023/03/07/us-thinks-pro-ukrainian-group-blew-up-nord-stream-pipelines-report-says/