A top Ukrainian military officer working under the command of the head of Ukraine’s top general played a central role in the undersea bombing of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline last year, the Washington Post and Der Spiegel jointly reported on Saturday.
The two publications said that unnamed officials in the US and Europe had identified Roman Chervinsky, a 48-year-old colonel who served in Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces, as “coordinator” of the September 26, 2022 Nord Stream bombing in which three explosions ruptured two pipelines that transport gas from under the Baltic Sea Russia to Germany. The reports say that Chervinsky “took orders from more senior Ukrainian officials, who ultimately reported to Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s highest-ranking military officer.”
The initially mysterious 2022 explosions created an international whodunnit. Many initially blamed Russia. In February, the investigative reporter Seymour Hersh published a report claiming the United States was behind the blasts. Russia has echoed that claim.
But the Post’s report is the latest information to emerge suggesting Ukraine was responsible. Ukraine benefited from the Nord Stream disabling—even before the war, its citizens were vocal critics of the pipelines, which bypassed the country and cost Kiev revenue it had previously received from transporting Russian gas toward Western Europe. As Russia prepared to invade Ukraine in 2022, Germany, under US pressure, shut down the pipeline. But the prospect of its resumed operation, which would earn Moscow revenue it could use to wage war, gave Ukraine a motive.
Chervinsky denied playing any part in the sabotage. “All speculations about my involvement in the attack on Nord Stream are being spread by Russian propaganda without any basis,” he said in a statement to news outlets.