US intelligence officials believe that a pro-Ukrainian group was behind an attack on the Nord Stream energy pipelines in September. However, there is no evidence suggesting that the Ukrainian government was involved, according to reports. Repairing the pipelines that carry gas from Russia to Europe could cost up to $500 million after they were damaged by explosives. The attackers responsible for the damage have yet to be identified.
Ukraine has opposed the Nord Stream project for years, fearing that it would be cut out of any transit agreements involving Russian gas being delivered to Europe. Some intelligence officials had initially suspected Russia of being behind the attack, as taking Nord Stream offline would have led to significant energy price hikes in Europe. This could have potentially weakened support for Ukraine in European capitals, given Germany’s heavy reliance on Russian gas.
According to reports, intelligence agencies have not found evidence to suggest that the Ukrainian government was involved in the attack, although they have not ruled out the possibility of a connection. Officials who reviewed the intelligence believe that the saboteurs were most likely Ukrainian or Russian nationals, or a combination of the two. They do not believe that American or British nationals were involved.
The attack on the Nord Stream pipeline is considered an act of sabotage by the US and NATO. European intelligence operatives believe that the attack was probably state-sponsored, given its sophistication. The explosives were most likely planted with the help of divers who were not working for military or intelligence services.
Moscow has blamed the West for the attack and has called for an independent investigation by the UN Security Council. However, neither side has provided any evidence to support their claims. The Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines are each 760 miles long. The first pipeline cost more than $12 billion to build and was completed in 2011. The second pipeline is currently under construction and is expected to be operational in the near future.
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