What’s Wrong with Accusations Against Ukraine on the Nord Stream Sabotage? (Part 2)

November 28, 2023
The emphasis on Ukraine's involvement in the disruption of Nord Stream seems to be part of a discrediting campaign. But who could push this narrative?

The recent publication in the Washington Post of the Ukrainian organisers of the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage and other articles on the same subject provoked frustration in Ukraine.

There are not only inconsistencies in the arguments presented by these publications but also a sign of hidden motives aimed at casting a shadow on Ukraine.

Mykhailo Gonchar, President of the Centre for Global Studies "Strategy XXI," explained to UkraineWorld why these publications are similar to information operations and who could have been motivated to blow up the Nord Stream pipelines.

Several peculiarities are shared by all of the publications in this chain, leading many experts to believe they are all part of a special information operation.

Their common thread is promoting the narrative about Ukraine's military and political leadership failing to work together.

The last Washington Post publication emphasised a version in which the military command led by General Zalyzhny planned and carried out the operation without informing President Zelenskyy.

It's also worth noting that Russian propaganda invented and actively promotes the narrative about the contradictions between Zelenskyy and Zalyzhny.

Another peculiarity is the timing of publications regarding the alleged Ukrainian trace in the sabotage. They have been published in sync with either the development of Ukrainian-American contacts or periods challenging for bilateral relations.

The recent Washington Post article appeared amid the difficult political processes in the US, currently hindering the allocation of aid to Ukraine. This publication casts a shadow on Ukraine and might provoke doubts about providing assistance to the state (Ukraine) under blame.

The western publications push the narrative that it’s getting more difficult for the West to keep supporting Ukraine because the aid provided could get them into political complications.

The authors attempt to strengthen this idea by referring to anonymous sources, supposedly aware of the classified details of communication between Ukraine and its partners.

However, the fact is that neither on official nor unofficial level, during any type of contact, the representatives of the West don't raise this issue in the context played up in those publications. No public accusations of Ukraine from Americans or Europeans have been articulated.

Earlier, US President Biden noted that no further statements on the subject are permitted until the results of the official investigation, referring to the German one, are available.

References to anonymous sources allegedly affiliated with credible bodies and the continuation of the same narrative are common disinformation techniques.

They distort public perception even when an audience isn't sure of the credibility of such publications. Moreover, spreading this version in different media by various journalists creates a false feeling of legitimacy.

The complex architecture of this campaign might mean that there are forces are at play, coordinating the discrediting operation.

So this begs the crucial question: who has a real invested interest in the Nord Stream pipeline explosion? An unobvious hypothesis could be true here, and all roads lead to Russia.

Despite the fact that its facilities were damaged, Russia did not conduct its own investigation. It wanted to join other countries' investigations after the incident, but when it couldn't, it didn't launch its own.

Moreover, Russia put forward an unsubstantiated version of American involvement in the sabotage. Then came Seymour Hersh's publication about the American-Norwegian footprint, which was part of the same information operation.

Russia’s role in the sabotage wasn't even a subject of discussion in the publications. The official investigators themselves made a mistake stating that Russia is unlikely to stand behind the explosion.

Russia blowing up its pipelines seemed illogical to them. However, an investigation aims to examine all possible explanations, including those that appear unlikely at first glance.

Indeed, it could seem that Russia wouldn't have a motive. But, as James Sherr emphasised in his analysis this spring, it's a mistake not to look for a Russian trace in the incident, which can be explained by the investigators' lack of understanding of Russia and knowledge about this country.

Russia could have been motivated by the desire to evade multi billion fines for undelivered to Europe natural gas under the contract conditions.

Russia decided to cut gas supplies to Europe, so the Nord Stream pipelines didn't function. The arbitration on undelivered supplies should have taken place in 2024. And the only way for Russia to evade sanctions is to claim a force majeure. Sabotage on the pipelines can be considered force majeure.

So, it becomes clear that all the conclusions about the Ukrainian footprint in the Nord Stream explosions put forward before the results of official investigations are created by the same scriptwriters.

This version logically fits into the framework of Russian propaganda. It adds to its endeavour to drive a wedge between Ukraine and its Western partners aimed at decreasing support for Ukraine.