A Ukrainian military official may have played a crucial role in sabotaging the Baltic Sea’s Nord Stream gas pipelines last year, according to a newspaper investigation.
A September 2022 explosion rendered three of the four pipelines inoperable, with most speculation directed towards Washington and Kyiv.
Roman Chervinsky, a colonel in Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces, managed the logistics and supervised a crew of six people, who rented a boat under false identities and used diving equipment to plant explosive charges on the pipelines, says the joint investigation by The Washington Post and Der Spiegel.
Chervinsky did not organise the operation alone, but was following orders from high-ranking officers ultimately reporting to Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, Valery Zaluzhny.
He denied playing a role in the Nord Streams sabotage in a written response to The Washington Post.
“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.
Some view Chervinsky as a fervent patriot, while others are convinced his hubris and defiance have cost lives, Der Spiegel notes. Chervinsky, who is in pre-trial detention over a 2022 attempt to persuade a Russian pilot to defect to Ukraine, is said a critic of President Zelenskyy. The Nord Stream sabotage occurred without the knowledge of Zelenskyy, it is speculated.
Dutch military intelligence warned the CIA months before the blast that an attack was being planned on the pipelines by a group reporting “directly” to Ukrainian Chief of General Staff Valery Zaluzhny, it is reported.
Ukrainian sources have passed on Roman Chervynskyi’s identity and suspicions of his involvement to other security services. His name is now routinely referenced behind closed doors in Kyiv, the investigative journalists claimed.
However, according to Western security sources, the Ukrainian intelligence apparatus is riddled with rivalries and infighting, and intelligence from sources there should be treated with caution, Der Spiegel notes.