The Central Intelligence Agency told Ukrainian officials last summer that it had learned of what they believed to be an aborted plot by Ukrainians to attack the Nord Stream pipelines, and the agency strengthened its objections to any such operation, US officials said.
In June 2022, Dutch intelligence officials shared information with the CIA that they had learned that the Ukrainian military was planning an operation using divers to blow up one of the pipelines, according to US and European officials. However, the original tip of the Dutch, according to American officials, was that Ukraine had already reconsidered and canceled the operation.
US officials now believe the operation was not actually aborted but delayed, potentially with another group linked to Ukraine carrying out the attack.
Explosions damaged parts of the pipeline, which transport natural gas from Russia to Europe, in September. The Ukrainian government has repeatedly denied responsibility for the attack.
But German investigators later learned that a group of Ukrainians had rented a ship, loaded it with explosives and attacked the pipeline. US intelligence agencies now believe the operation was carried out at least with the free direction of the Ukrainian government, but he does not know who exactly planned the operation.
Information about the CIA warning to Ukraine and that the original intelligence was provided by Dutch intelligence officials, was reported earlier according to German news Die Zeit and NOS, the Dutch national broadcaster.
It is unclear which US official delivered the message about the pipeline attack to Ukraine. But it was not delivered by senior officials because the United States already believed that Kiev had reconsidered the wisdom of the attack, according to American officials. It was also not clear how the Ukrainians reacted to the Americans’ message.
The original warning gathered by Dutch intelligence included details similar to the final operation, but also differed in some key ways, according to a European official. Original intelligence said Ukraine intended to attack Nord Stream 1, while the actual attack was against older pipelines and the just-completed set known as Nord Stream 2.
Dutch intelligence also said the plan would involve the use of fake passports, a European official said. At least some members of the group European investigators believe carried out the attack used fake passports, but from a different country than the original report identified.
The original plan also involved using members of Ukrainian special forces to charter a submarine and boat to attack a pipeline near a site popular with divers, the European official said.
The CIA was unable to confirm the information the Dutch gave them last summer, but it warned the German government that the pipelines might be attacked and then discussed the matter with Ukrainian officials.
The US government has declined to comment on the Nord Stream attack, and US officials have declined to comment on reports of Ukraine’s involvement in the attacks. They are said to be waiting for the results of the German investigation and other European investigations.
Some officials worry that Ukraine’s involvement will weaken support for the war among Germans, who have absorbed high energy prices during the conflict. While it is still possible that further revelations could change public opinion in Germany, Berlin now continues to increase its military aid to Kiev and has provided many of the tanks used in the ongoing Ukrainian counter-offensive.