Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has warned against jumping to conclusions after new reports about the sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines.

According to experts, the sabotage could also have been a so-called false flag operation, the SPD politician said today on the sidelines of a meeting of EU defense ministers in Sweden, with a view to the possibility that the perpetrators intentionally laid the wrong tracks could indicate other authors. “It wouldn’t be the first time in the history of such events, so I’m careful not to jump to conclusions.”

Pistorius: Differentiate between different scenarios

Pistorius also called for a distinction to be made between different scenarios when there were indications of Ukrainian involvement. “We have to make a clear distinction between whether it was a Ukrainian group – which could have been on behalf of Ukraine – or a pro-Ukrainian group without the knowledge of the government,” he said. “I warn against jumping to conclusions.”

When asked whether Ukrainian participation could have an impact on Germany’s support for Ukraine, Pistorius said: “I’m now supposed to answer the question of what would happen if this research were correct and provable – that’s too much conditioning for me. Honestly, I’d like to answer a question like that if I know anything reliable. Everything else is hypothetical.”

Baerbock is also cautious

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also expressed reservations. “Of course, we follow all reports and also all findings that are available from different actors very, very intensively,” said the Green politician today during her visit to the Kurdish capital of Erbil in response to a journalist’s question. First, however, the competent authorities would have to complete their investigations. This is necessary so that “the government can then make assessments based on these findings and not hastily draw conclusions for ourselves from reports”.

The federal government has repeatedly made it clear that the Attorney General in Karlsruhe is responsible for the investigation. He has been investigating since the beginning of October 2022. “He also has sovereignty over the procedure and not the government, due to our understanding of the rule of law,” said Baerbock.

Moscow sees itself confirmed

In Moscow, the media reports were received with satisfaction and new allegations against the West. Such information is being spread by those “who do not want to conduct investigations within the legal framework and are trying by all means to divert the attention of the public,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote late last night on her Telegram channel. Moscow blames the US and UK secret services for the attack.

Zakharova then once again claimed that Western governments were behind the incident. You must now officially comment on the Russian inquiries and at least work through the research of the US journalist Seymour Hersh, she demanded. Hersh had written without evidence and citing a single anonymous source that US Navy divers were responsible for the blasts in the Baltic Sea. The White House dismissed the report as fabrication.

Media reports: Investigators have a boat in focus

ARD, SWR and “Zeit” had previously reported that the investigations led to the sabotage in the direction of Ukraine. According to media reports, investigators have so far found no evidence of who commissioned the destruction. However, they identified a boat that could have been used for the Baltic Sea venture. The yacht in question was rented from a company based in Poland, which “apparently belongs to two Ukrainians,” it said. In addition, a team consisting of a captain, two divers, two diving assistants and a doctor brought the explosives to the crime scenes, according to investigations.

The nationalities of the people were unclear, the report said. Apparently they used fake passports. The authorities had found out that the boat probably broke up in Rostock before the pipeline explosion on September 6th. They then found it in Wieck am Darß in the Vorpommern-Rügen district and on the Danish island of Christiansø, north-east of Bornholm.

Pistorius said today: “I know the reports about this research. I read it with great interest.”

At the end of September, a total of four leaks in the two pipelines from Russia to Germany were discovered after explosions near the Danish Baltic Sea island of Bornholm. The Swedish security authorities determined in November that it was serious sabotage – but without naming a culprit.