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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (center), here at an emergency meeting of his Security Council: "I am president and I give orders accordingly"

Photo: IMAGO/Pool /Ukrainian Presidentia / IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

A good eight months after the explosions at the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, further traces lead to Ukraine. Now Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has denied his government's involvement in the sabotage actions on the gas pipelines.

"I'm president and I'm giving orders. Ukraine has done nothing of the kind. I would never act like that," Zelensky said in a joint interview with Bild, Welt and Politico. The president had been asked about an article in the Washington Post that suggests the involvement of the Ukrainian military. Zelensky now demanded evidence of the insinuation.

The Washington Post had reported that the U.S. foreign intelligence agency CIA had already learned of a Ukrainian plan for such an attack in June 2022, three months before the detonations. The US then shared the information with European allies, including Germany, the newspaper writes. The plan is said to have been very detailed – and has great similarities with the actual attack in September. The report said that Ukraine was planning a secret attack on the pipelines with the help of divers who were directly subordinate to the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Zelensky allegedly deliberately not informed

SPIEGEL had already reported in September that the CIA had warned the German government of an attack scenario on the Baltic Sea pipelines in the run-up to the explosions.

According to the Washington Post, those involved are now said to have reported directly to the Ukrainian army chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi. Zelensky was deliberately not informed about the plans in order to then be able to credibly reject Ukrainian responsibility.

Much remains unclear: The communications director of the National Security Council, John Kirby, had not wanted to comment on the report on Tuesday: "I will not get involved in a discussion of intelligence matters from the podium under any circumstances," he said. Kirby stressed that the newspaper itself reported that the US intelligence services had not been able to confirm the information.

At the end of September 2022, a total of four leaks were discovered on the two pipelines after explosions near the Danish Baltic Sea island of Bornholm. On 10 October, the Federal Prosecutor General in Germany initiated an investigation against unknown persons. It is about the suspicion of intentionally causing an explosive explosion and anti-constitutional sabotage.