Chris Lange, FISM News
The Biden administration knew months in advance that Ukraine’s military planned to detonate explosives on the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, according to a leaked CIA document.
An unidentified European spy agency alerted the CIA in June 2022 that a six-person team of Ukrainian special ops troops was planning the attack, per The Washington Post. Three months later, a trio of underwater explosions ruptured the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea, resulting in massive natural gas leaks.
Post journalists obtained a copy of the intel from an online friend of Jack Teixiera, the U.S. National Guardsman charged with posting hundreds of highly classified Pentagon documents on social media.
The European intelligence summary was based on information obtained from a Ukrainian whistleblower. The CIA shared the report with Germany and other European allies in June 2022. It is unclear whether the U.S. or any other government that received the intel tried to dissuade Kyiv’s military from following through with the plan.
German investigators said that six people used fake identities to rent a yacht called Andromeda and sailed from a port in Germany to plant the explosives, The New York Post reported. The investigators said that the saboteurs were probably experienced divers, noting that the bombs were planted at a depth of 240 feet. Detectives discovered explosive residue on the yacht and traced its rental to Ukrainian nationals.
White House spokesperson John Kirby deflected questions about the report at a White House briefing Tuesday, saying that the investigation into the Nord Stream attack remains active.
“The last thing that we’re going to want to do from this podium is get ahead of those investigations,” he said.
In the aftermath of the Nord Stream explosions, some Biden administration officials said that Russia was behind what President Biden called “a deliberate act of sabotage” – a claim Moscow vehemently refuted. Biden vowed at the time that the U.S. and its allies would work together “to get to the bottom” of who was responsible for the bombings.
A March 2023 U.S. intelligence review acknowledged that a pro-Ukrainian group was likely responsible for the explosions but stressed that there was no evidence to suggest that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyy had foreknowledge of the plan. This was confirmed in the intel obtained by The Washington Post.
The plot revealed in the CIA assessment bears a striking resemblance to a February 2023 report by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. Hersh, however, said that it was U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan who devised the plan to destroy two of the Nord Stream pipelines. White House National Security spokeswoman Adrienne Watson called the report “false and complete fiction” in a statement to The Washington Examiner at the time.
NATO allies have been tight-lipped about the ongoing investigation.
ZELENSKYY, PUTIN TRADE BLAME FOR CATASTROPHIC DAM COLLAPSE
Throngs of people continued fleeing their homes Wednesday amid cresting flood waters caused by the collapse of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam on the Dnieper River that separates Ukrainian and Russian forces in southern Ukraine.
Britain’s Defense Ministry said that a huge section of the dam was swept away Tuesday, along with critical water and utility infrastructure.
The intelligence report indicated that the water level of Kakhovka reservoir was already at record high levels before the breach and that the dam “is likely to deteriorate further over the next few days, causing additional flooding.”
As of Thursday, the death toll had risen to five, with seven people still missing, per the Associated Press. The catastrophe has displaced tens of thousands of people, prompted cholera warnings, and destroyed crops.
Wheat and corn prices stabilized Wednesday after spiking the day prior over fears that Ukraine would be unable to ship grain to developing nations where people are struggling with hunger and high food prices caused by the 16-month war.
‘THEY COULDN’T KILL US, THEY DECIDED TO DROWN US’
Aerial footage posted on social media Wednesday showed people wading through waist-high water, with some carrying children on their shoulders. Others were stranded on rooftops waiting to be rescued by search teams, The Hill reported.
“They couldn’t kill us, they decided to drown us,” one Kherson resident said.
The misery of Ukrainian residents who have endured months of artillery attacks and Russian occupation was compounded by the loss of their homes and belongings, with many forced to leave pets and livestock behind.
Russia-appointed authorities in the occupied parts of the Kherson region reported 15,000 flooded homes.
NUCLEAR POWER PLANT THREATENED BY FLOODS
The dam break renewed concerns about the stability of the endangered Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power plant as officials rushed to check its cooling systems Wednesday.
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi called the developments “concerning” and a “crucial moment for nuclear safety” in a social media post.
“After concerning developments following the destruction of the #Kakhovka HPP dam, I will be leading the next rotation of our @IAEAorg Support and Assistance Mission to #Zaporizhzhya NPP (ISAMZ) next week with a reinforced team,” he wrote.
ZELENSKYY ACCUSES PUTIN OF ‘ECOCIDE’
The cause of the dam collapse remains unclear. Ukraine and Russia traded blame for the catastrophe, both accusing the other side of a deliberate attack.
“The whole world knows about this Russian war crime, the crime of ecocide – the deliberate destruction of the dam and other structures of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant by the Russian occupiers,” Zelenskyy said. “In fact, Russian terrorists have detonated an environmental bomb of mass destruction.”
The Ukrainian leader also claimed that Russian occupiers refused to help Ukrainian citizens, telling Politico: “From the roofs of the flooded houses, people see drowned people floating by…It’s very hard to get people out of the occupied part of Kherson region. When our forces try to get them out, they are shot at by occupiers from a distance.”
The Military Times reported that both sides were evacuating residents.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, accused Kyiv of escalating “war crimes [and] openly using terrorist methods and staging acts of sabotage on Russian territory” in a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Kremlin said Wednesday, per the AP report.
Some analysts have suggested that the dam collapse was caused by neglect and war damage. It remains to be seen if the disaster will impede Ukraine’s newly launched counteroffensive.