Report: Ukraine intelligence officer behind Nord Stream pipeline explosion

Last year’s trio of explosions that ruptured the Nord Stream gas pipelines (pictured) were orchestrated by a former Ukrainian military officer, the Washington Post reported Saturday. Photo courtesy of Danish Defense

Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Last year's trio of explosions that ruptured the Nord Stream gas pipelines were orchestrated by a former senior Ukrainian military officer, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

The Post, citing anonymous Ukrainian and European officials as well as others with knowledge of the operation, published the report in conjunction with German periodical Der Spiegel.

The former military officer, identified Col. Roman Chervinsky, once had strong ties to the intelligence community and served as the covert operation's "coordinator," the newspaper said.

Chervinsky previously served in Ukraine's Special Operations Forces but The Post did not elaborate on his role there, although he has carried out special previous operations for Ukraine.

"The officer's role provides the most direct evidence to date tying Ukraine's military and security leadership to a controversial act of sabotage that has spawned multiple criminal investigations and that U.S. and Western officials have called a dangerous attack on Europe's energy infrastructure," The Post reported in the exclusive story.

Through a lawyer, Chervinsky denied any involvement in the operation.

Neither U.S. or Ukrainian military sources have commented on the report.

The story alleges Chervinsky and a six-person support team chartered a sailboat and used deep-sea diving capabilities to orchestrate the blasts.

In April a Kyiv court arrested Chervinskyi in connection with an allegedly unauthorized plot to hijack a Russian military fighter jet. Prosecutors said the scheme led to a Russian missile attack on Kanatove airfield on July 23, 2022.

He was identified by prosecutors as a former employee of Ukraine's Main Directorate of Intelligence and the Security Service of Ukraine, as well as a former acting commander of one of the Ukrainian military's Special Operation Forces units.

Three separate explosions rocked the Swedish Nord Stream 1 and 2 natural gas pipelines on Sept. 26, 2022.

An investigation later revealed traces of explosives at both rupture sites, pointing to sabotage as the cause. The report did not specify how the explosives were affixed the lines or who was behind their installation.

When fully operational, the twin pipeline system can transport up to 1.94 trillion cubic feet (55 billion cubic meters) of natural gas from Russia to Germany underneath the Baltic Sea.

As recently as April, Swedish prosecutors said determining the true cause behind the explosions would be difficult to uncover and may never be known.

The pipelines were not active at the time of the explosion but were still filled with natural gas when authorities noticed a sharp drop in pressure.