When the Nord Stream pipeline mysteriously exploded a little more than a year ago, releasing huge amounts of natural gas, people quickly began asking who might have pulled off the attack. The laughable attempts by the White House to blame Vladimir Putin were largely dismissed by most analysts. There was plenty of finger-pointing going on, but investigations by both the United States and European nations produced no answers that were ever made public (for some reason). But now, a joint investigation by reporters from The Washington Post and Der Spiegel in Germany has reached a new conclusion based on a number of anonymous sources. They are pinning the blame on a high-ranking Ukrainian military official. The spotlight is now on Col. Roman Chervinsky.
A decorated colonel in Ukraine’s special forces was the “coordinator” of the underwater explosions that rocked the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines in September 2022, roiling Europe’s energy markets amid Ukraine’s war with Russia, a report said Saturday.
Though he did not act alone or plan the clandestine operation, Col. Roman Chervinsky allegedly played an integral role in its execution, according to a joint investigation by the Washington Post and German outlet Der Spiegel, which cited several anonymous sources with knowledge of the operation, including officials in Ukraine.
Chervinsky — who, through his attorney, denied any role in the sabotage — allegedly orchestrated logistics for the six-person team that pulled off the daring bombing below the surface of the Baltic Sea, the report said.
Before throwing the baby out with the Baltic bathwater here, let’s give a nod to the possibility that at least some of this report is plausible. If you’re searching for a suspect who might have had the motive to blow up the pipeline shortly after the Russians invaded Ukraine, the Ukrainians would have to initially be fairly high on your list. That’s certainly far more plausible than blaming the Russians or any of their allies as the White House initially attempted to do.
With that said, fixing the blame on Roman Chervinsky should leave us with many questions. He’s a 48-year-old soldier who served in Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces, so he no doubt has some combat experience and has probably been involved in some “dark” missions. But pulling off something like this still seems many levels above his pay grade.
Further, the WaPo analysis doesn’t even try to claim that he was the “mastermind” behind it. They say that he “did not plan the clandestine operation.” Okay… then who did plan it? They also say that he “did not act alone.” The scheme supposedly involved six people who “rented a sailing boat using false identities and diving equipment” to place the charges and remotely detonate them. We’ve heard this theory before.
There is no suggestion that Chervinsky ever had any sort of diving or deep water ordinance handling experience. After the initial blast, most military analysts that I heard being interviewed agreed that there are only a handful of teams in the world with the skills required to pull that off, and Ukraine was not on the list of prime candidates. It’s still more likely than not that an American team did this, perhaps with some help from the Germans. And other reporters have already concluded that this was the case.
So giving the benefit of the doubt here, might the people who cooked up the plan originally have desperately wanted to have a Ukrainian face involved in it? If so, perhaps Chervinsky was enlisted to play that role. Perhaps they let him rent the sailboat or something. But what of the fact that Zelensky has continued to deny that Ukraine would ever have done such a thing? The report explains that by saying that the plan “was designed to keep Zelensky in the dark.” Oh, really? They set off a major international incident that could have resulted in a much stronger retaliatory response from Russia and they didn’t even let their commander-in-chief know about it? Then why hasn’t Chervinsky already been fired? He’s denying it and claiming that the entire report is the creation of Russian propagandists. Zelensky continues to deny any Ukrainian involvement as well.
Something doesn’t smell right about this story and it hasn’t from the beginning. If I had to wager a shiny new nickel on what really happened and the results of this media investigation, I still think that we were at the bottom of this and the press is doing everything possible to not point the finger at us for political reasons.