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8 Jan, 2024 13:57

Poland covered up for Nord Stream attackers – WSJ

The newspaper claims that various European officials believe Warsaw fed “disinformation” to investigators and tried to blame the blasts on Russia
Poland covered up for Nord Stream attackers – WSJ

Polish officials have withheld evidence and attempted to stall an international probe into the bombing of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, making investigators “suspicious of Warsaw’s role and motives,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. 

The Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas lines – which linked Russia with Germany through the Baltic Sea – were destroyed in a series of explosions near the Danish island of Bornholm in September 2022. A joint inquiry by Germany, Denmark, and Sweden is ongoing, with investigators theorizing that a Ukrainian team rented a yacht in Germany from a Polish company, which they used to transport explosives to the blast sites.

When these alleged leads were chaned in Poland, investigators were stonewalled by government officials and law enforcement agents, the Journal reported, citing sources within the investigation.

Polish authorities failed to turn over testimony from eyewitnesses who allegedly encountered the yacht’s six-person crew in the Polish port of Kolobrzeg until pushed to do so by German police, the sources said. CCTV footage from the port was then withheld, and Poland’s internal security agency, the ABW, “failed to answer queries, obfuscated or gave contradictory information,” the newspaper stated.

Polish prosecutors said they found no traces of explosives on the yacht, despite never having boarded it to check, the investigators claimed. The investigation would later find explosive residue on the vessel, according to media reports. 

The prosecutors reportedly told European investigators that the boat arrived in Kolobrzeg at 4pm September 19, when it actually moored seven hours earlier. Later in the investigation, the ABW told its sister agencies in Europe that the yacht “had links with Russian espionage,” the newspaper reported, adding that investigators considered this “disinformation.”

According to all available information, no Western governments or intelligence agencies suspect that Russia was behind the bombings. Gas sold to Europe via the Nord Stream lines was a lucrative source of revenue for Moscow, and was seen as a powerful instrument of leverage for the Kremlin.

Poland’s efforts to hinder the investigators have made them “increasingly suspicious of Warsaw’s role and motives,” the Wall Street Journal noted. All of the alleged misdirection and obfuscation took place under Poland’s previous government, however, and unnamed “senior European officials” told the newspaper that they are considering contacting Poland’s new prime minister, Donald Tusk, in the hope that he will grant them access to police and security personnel who may have previously been pressured to stay silent.

According to an alternate theory put forward by American journalist Seymour Hersh, the CIA was responsible for the Nord Stream blasts. Citing sources within the intelligence community, Hersh argued that CIA divers working with the Norwegian Navy planted remotely-triggered bombs on the lines last summer, using a NATO exercise in the region as cover. 

Bolstering this theory was a tweet by former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who within hours of the explosions shared an image of a giant gas leak at the blast site along with the caption “Thank you, USA.” 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed this explanation, stating last month that the sabotage operation “was done, most likely, by the Americans or someone at their instruction.”