Who blew up Nord Stream?

The Andromeda is a Bavaria C50, a sailing boat made by a German company, Bavaria Yachts. It has five cabins and room for up to 11 people. It has a platform at the back to dive from. German investigators still have a lot of questions. Was the Andromeda part of a deception operation? A false flag?

A senior Ukrainian military officer with deep ties to the country’s intelligence services played a central role in the bombing of the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines last year, according to officials in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe, as well as other people knowledgeable about the details of the covert operation. The officer’s role provides the most direct evidence to date tying Ukraine’s military and security leadership to a controversial act of sabotage that has spawned multiple criminal investigations and that U.S. and Western officials have called a dangerous attack on Europe’s energy infrastructure.

Roman Chervinsky, a decorated 48-year-oldcolonel who served in Ukraine’s special operations forces, was the “coordinator” of the Nord Stream operation, people familiar with his role said, managing logistics and support for a six-person team that rented a sailboat under false identities and used deep-sea diving equipment to place explosive charges on the gas pipelines. On Sept. 26, 2022, three explosions caused massive leaks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which run from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. The attack left only one of the four gas links in the network intact as winter approached.

Chervinsky did not act alone, and he did not plan the operation, according to the people familiar with his role, which has not been previously reported. The officer took orders from more senior Ukrainian officials, who ultimately reported to Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s highest-ranking military officer, said people familiar with how the operation was carried out. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive details about the bombing, which has strained diplomatic relations with Ukraine and drawn objections from U.S. officials.

Ukraine has launched many daring and secretive operations against Russian forces. But the Nord Stream attack targeted civilian infrastructure built to provide energy to millions of people in Europe. While Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas conglomerate, owns 51 percent of Nord Stream, Western energy companies, including from Germany, France and the Netherlands, are partners and invested billions in the project. Ukraine had long complained that Nord Stream would allow Russia to bypass Ukrainian pipes, depriving Kyiv of huge transit revenue.

Through his attorney, Chervinsky denied any role in the sabotage of the pipelines. “All speculations about my involvement in the attack on Nord Stream are being spread by Russian propaganda without any basis,” Chervinsky said in a written statement to The Washington Post and Der Spiegel, which conducted a joint investigation of his role.


Comment: Although still a theory at this time, it does make sense to me. Ukraine has the most to gain from the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines and is a country in a fight for its life. Desperate men can do desperate things. In this case, it would be bold and ballsy as well, being done with six divers and a 50 foot chartered sailboat. A lot of questions remain as to how it was done.

If all elements of this WaPo investigative report prove true, Ukrainian Intelligence and Special Operations leadership are showing a troubling tendency for taking unilateral action apart from national civilian leadership, that they know better than the country’s leadership and are willing to go rogue. That’s a bad sign for a democratic government.

If true it also means that Sy Hersh doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. He’s lost his knack.


This entry was posted in Intelligence, The Military Art, TTG, Ukraine Crisis. Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Who blew up Nord Stream?

  1. F&L says:

    I’m not prepared to diminish my respect for either Hersh himself nor abandon his version of this pipeline demolition based on this WAPO article. Two reasons primarily.

    1- This story’s finger of blame points in directions which terminate at the door of the chief Ukrainian General Zaluzhny and he, along with the most powerful man in Ukraine President Zelensky, is the focus of a serious contraversy over where in fact they are and what to do going forward – a controversy so intense that it’s led to elections possibly being canceled and apparent assassins attempts where Zaluzhny’s aide, a general himself, died from mysterious grenade incident. It’s highly likey that people such as Zelensky or his powerful US handlers want to move Zaluzhny aside – his candid article in the Economist magazine recently was unpopular and embarrassing because it admitted they had made no progress in the summer offensive which was much ballyhooed and cost a huge treasure in human lives. Furthermore the article is sketchy enough that a reader can conclude that it was possibly almost a rogue effort intended either to setup the American administration or so amateurishly thought through that it wasn’t cleared. If so that would point to conflict within the command or commands there – and more reasons to investigate whether advice is heeded and effective oversight is in effect.

    2- WAPO is a DC Intel community channel of very long standing, and the version presented by Seymour Hersh, one would think, is and has been intensely displeasing to some members of that community. They’d rather it be another story.

    • Yeah, Right says:

      Something of a digression, but why wasn’t David Ignatius handed this story?

      He is the usual CIA go-to stenographer when they need some nonsense printed in the WaPo.

      Maybe he’s out of favor with Langley, or maybe he’s on vacation.

      Or maybe this story just stinks so much that it doesn’t even rise to his lamentable level of professional integrity.

      • F&L says:

        I don’t know but would vote for your last paragraph.

        I don’t want to perturb our host unduly, but while on the topic of final paragraphs – Seymour Hersh “lost his knack?” One of the foremost if not the foremost investigative reporters in human history – Seymour Hersh.

        Vladimir Horowitz could play Liszt Sonatas and Chopin Scherzos in his eighties, and Artur Rubenstein into his nineties. These are pieces that most people couldn’t come close to performing if they lived 10,000 years in perfect health and practiced every single day with the finest instructors. Pole-Vaulting or boxing, sure, you definitely lose your knack assuming you ever had one. Not this kind of work though, failing severe illness, injury or dementia.

  2. Rob Waddell says:

    I agree with your comments but I too have a lot of questions on how it was done. I don’t disagree that the 15m ‘Andromeda’ was in the vicinity of the Nord Stream pipelines on or abouts 26 September 2022 but for it and its crew to be responsible for four high power demolitions at four different sites (Three were 13km apart while one was 79km distant) is highly improbable. You and others here at Turcoplier may have had experience with explosive demolition and I defer to this but add the following facts: The target, 1.3m steel pipe (not mild steel) 30-40mm diameter encased with 100mm concrete. Location, multiple locations at depths between 80-100m. The tidal streams are quite high in the area of the explosions, up to 0.75km/hr, and the water would generally be turbid. What has leaked out about the demolition sites suggests a combination of large amounts of HE, up to 500kg per site, and shaped charges for at least one site, NS2.
    I don’t have diving experience below 25m but acquaintances that do suggest that experienced divers using gas mixtures and/or rebreather equipment would be able to work for short period (20 minutes or so) at these depths. I’m sure that even a small navy could gather suitable talent. I do, however, have experience with 15m sailboats and I’m quite sure that to fit a team up to six persons with required dive equipment i.e. cylinders, compressor, dry suits etc. would be a tight fit. Add up to 1t of HE, detonation equipment and poor wee ship is going to be sailing low in the water. The other question is how to lower the explosives to the demo site, that’s even more equipment. Sure TTG, desperate men do desperate things and if they could pull that of it would be one of the greatest military feats since the ‘Guns of Navarone’ (apologies in advance).
    My belief is the ‘Andromeda’ is a decoy or feint for what really happened. I don’t disbelieve Hersh story due to my above comments and the fact that NATO allies have closed ranks on this story.
    A suitable parallel is the story of the sinking in Auckland Harbour of the ‘Rainbow Warrior’ by a French commando unit under the orders of the DGSE; Operation Satanic’. The sailboat ‘Ouvea’ was chartered and sailed to New Zealand where the commandos, along with the help of a shore team, placed two mines on the moored ‘Rainbow Warrior’ and sank it. The commandos escaped to Norfolk Island on the ‘Ouvea’ where they were extracted by the French Navy and the sailboat scuttled. Operation ‘Satanic’ was considered a disaster by the French.
    No apologies for use of metric, I’m just trying to educate youse. (Thanks Alan Farrell).
    All the best rw

    • TTG says:

      Rob Waddell,

      I’m also of the opinion that the Andromeda was a decoy or feint especially with the report that traces of the explosive used to blow the pipelines was found on the table in the Andromeda. I can’t see the explosive charges being readied in the galley of 50 foot, or 15 meter if you prefer, sailboat. I also don’t see how that boat would support the dives necessary to carry out the demolition. It smells of a deliberate plant as does the five men and a woman carrying shopping bags and speaking a Slavic language as they boarded the boat. I still think the Ukrainians could have been behind it. I also think the Russians could have done it. They had several suitable ships in the area.

      The US could also have been behind it, but Hersh’s story has far too many holes in it to be believable. His account is no more feasible than six sailors on the Andromeda doing this on their own.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        What, exactly, are the “holes” in Hersch’s story?

        • TTG says:

          Eric Newhill,
          Oliver Alexander did a fairly lengthy piece on the holes in Hersh’s account. Publicly available info showed the ships and the Norwegian P-8 aircraft central to Hersh’s account were nowhere near the explosion sites. The explosions occurred before the Norwegian P-8 supposedly dropped a sonar buoy to initiate the explosions. An operation that was closely held involved the Norwegian Navy and Air Force, the Danes, the Swedes, the BALTOPS exercise planning staff and Stoltenberg himself. BTW, Hersh claims Stoltenberg was working with the CIA since the end of the Viet Nam War when he was 16 years old.


          Hersh’s claim that the US did it is a workable thesis, but he comes up with a Rube Goldberg scheme with far too many moving parts. I’m sure the US could do this unilaterally with a much simpler plan if desired.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Good link, though subtly slanted. Of course we have no way of verifying the counters to Hersch that are made in the article. Of course we have no way of verifying Hersch’s claims either.

            Agree that over complex (Rube Goldberg) conspiracies are unlikely to be true.

        • babelthuap says:

          There are no holes in Hersh’s story. Biden even said the pipeline flow would stop before it stopped…meh.

          Doesn’t matter. Ukraine lost either way. Russia is still selling their oil and gas. It changed nothing other than hurting Europe.

          The US is weaker for starting this nonsense. Southern border is wide open, illegal aliens running around doing whatever they want, drugs, homelessness, human smuggling and a military that has no ability to recruit. I got asked to comeback half a dozen times. No. Not happening. Stop cheating in election and secure the border.

      • Yeah, Right says:

        I’m confused. You say that you think the Ukrainians did this, but you don’t believe that they used this yacht to do it.

        So….. how do you think they did it?

        Most crimes are solves by looking at means and motives.

        You’ve pinned them for motive, but you appear to be empty-handed with respect to means.

        • TTG says:

          Yeah, Right,

          I have no idea.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            So you think that Ukraine did it, even though you have no idea how they could have done it.

            Equally, you don’t think the USA did it, even though you admit that the USA has the means to do it.

            Would that be a fair summation of your position?

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            I’m not sure who did or how. I can see logical reasons for either Ukraine or the US doing it. I do not see a logical reason for Russia to do it, although I don’t see a logical reason for them blowing the Kakhovka dam either. But only the Russians could have rigged the internal demolitions to cause its destruction. There are too many holes in the scenarios offered by Hersh and the whole Andromeda theory to be believable. The US, Sweden, Norway, the Brits and Russia all probably have the means to carry it out. So as I said, I’m not sure who did or how.

  3. Fred says:

    ” Ukraine has the most to gain from the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines …”

    I believe a few others pointed that out at the time on these pages.

    “… tendency for taking unilateral action apart from national civilian leadership, that they know better than the country’s leadership and are willing to go rogue. ”

    Agree totally. Such individuals need to be held accountable, as Samantha Power was not.
    I believe a large contingent of current state department employees signed a public statement against Biden’s policy in regards to Israel. They should all be dismissed.

  4. elkern says:

    I don’t buy the idea that Nordsteam was blown *because* it “…would allow Russia to bypass Ukrainian pipes, depriving Kyiv of huge transit revenue”. The primary strategic effect was to eliminate any possibility that Germany could be tempted to end its support for Ukraine in exchange for cheap Russian gas.

    “If true”, this theory implies that [elements in] the Ukrainian Government were willing to – essentially – attack one of its most important allies to… make sure they remained allies? The German Government had enthusiastically supported Ukraine against Russia, and this is how Ukraine repays that support? That’s way beyond “ballsy”.

    “If true”, I’d bet that the German Government (and maybe others) will fall and be replaced by new [democratically elected] Governments which will quickly end support for Ukraine. This likely reaction always meant that it was really stupid for anybody associated with the Government of Ukraine to have been remotely involved in blowing those pipes. Did they really think their plot would never be discovered? Or did they just think they could keep it hidden until after they had defeated Russia, joined NATO and the EU, and could then thumb their nose(s) at Germany?

    “If true”, then the early reports in Western media claiming – on the authority of US and NATO “security experts” – that “Russia did it” were blatant lies, as this article says that the CIA knew about the plan and pushed Ukraine to cancel it (and it was just postponed).

    Whether or not Chervinsky’s team did it, the *timing* of this article merits some analysis. Why was this [allowed to be] published *now*?

    Some quick theories:

    – assuming Chervinsky did it, and NATO Governments already know it, the article may be an attempt to make sure that it gets blamed on “rogue elements” rather than Zelensky. This *might* make it possible for Germany and others to keep supporting Ukraine.
    – whether true or not, it could all be related to bureaucratic infighting in Ukraine; most likely Zelensky vs. Zaluzhny (who’s already in hot water for his article in The Economist).
    – whether true or not, the timing of the article could really be about US aid to Israel and/or Ukraine. Biden has pushed for (lots) more money for both; the GOP wants to prioritize Israel.
    – if this article is just a[nother] load of disinformation to deflect responsibility from US, British, or others, the timing may be less important (unless information supporting some other theory is expected to leak/drop soon?).

    Anybody have any better explanations for “why now”?

    • TTG says:


      Don’t forget Russia already shut off those pipelines before they were blown up. Why would Germany put their faith back in a supplier that untrustworthy? But your point that this could have been a “burn the ships on the beach” act to deny Germany to go back to the past has merit.

      • wiz says:


        and yet Russian gas is still flowing towards Europe, including over Ukraine. How come neither Ukraine nor Russia has shut that down ? In an active warzone it would be oh so much easier than NS operation.


        • TTG says:


          They’re both making money from that gas. If Ukraine cuts that pipeline, they lose Russia’s substantial transit fees. Those fees help fund the further killing of the Russian invaders. Russia continues to pay those transit fees because Hungary and other still buy Russian gas thus funding Russia’s war machine.

          • wiz says:


            Yes, Russia is making money on that gas.
            It made even more money on NS,
            so it makes no sense for Russia to blow up its major income stream.
            If it wanted to cut it’s nose to spite it’s face it would blow up the Ukrainian route as well. Or simply turn the valves off.

          • TTG says:


            And if they didn’t invade Ukraine, they’d be making a shit ton more with NS 1 and 2 flowing to Germany.

          • wiz says:


            the invasion is a separate issue.
            The point I’m trying to make is that Russia did not blow up its own pipeline and that they are a pretty reliable supplier.

            If Germany wants cheap gas again, they’ll work with Russia to repair the pipeline and resume commerce. If not, they can proceed to procure their energy from wherever.

        • leith says:

          Wiz –

          Wait! What does your tinyurl link say about Hungarian natural gas from Russia? My understanding was that pipeline was shutdown over a year ago. And Hungary is getting Putin’s gas via Turkstream and Bulgaria.

          If your claiming that is not true then please provide a better link for corroboration.

          • wiz says:


            Where did I claim that Hungary is not getting Russian gas (or Putin’s gas, if you will) via Turkstream ?
            Haven’t mentioned Hungary at all.

            if you actually read the article you’ll find this section:

            “[9] Hungary signed a 15-year long-term contract with Gazprom in 2021 for a total annual volume of 4.5 bcm. The contract specifies that 3.5 bcm of the volume is to be delivered to Hungary from the south via TurkStream, and 1 bcm is to be delivered at the Hungarian border with Austria (via the Ukrainian transit corridor).
            The supplementary volumes the Hungarian counterparty to the contract requested from Gazprom in 2022 were also delivered via TurkStream

          • leith says:

            Wiz –

            Sorry for not being more clear. What I was asking about was your statement “and yet Russian gas is still flowing towards Europe, including over Ukraine.”, which implied, to me anyway, that Ukraine’s pipelines were still allowing GAZPROM access to send gas to Europe. I believe they shut down the transfer stations on that pipeline a year and a half ago.

            BTW – That tinyurl link never seemed to work on my laptop. Does I need a different browser?

          • TTG says:


            As far as I can tell, some Russian gas is still flowing through Ukrainian pipelines to Hungary, Austria and maybe Slovakia. The transit contract lasts until the end of 2024. Russia or Ukraine may stop it early… or not.

          • leith says:

            TTG –

            I’ll take your word for it. Hesitantly though. Everything I’ve seen says they shut it down, contract or not.

            PS sorry for the double post.

          • wiz says:


            I used tinyurl service so as not to post big URLs.

            Here’s the original link

            According to the article most of the gas that still goes through Ukraine is used by Austria.

            “The Ukrainian gas transmission system has cross-border interconnections with four EU member states (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania) and with Moldova. In the 12-month period between July 2022 and June 2023, six EU countries (Slovakia, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia) and Moldova continued to receive Russian gas through the Ukrainian transit corridor (Figure 3).[8]

            Austria imported the highest volume (about 5 bcm) in absolute terms through Ukraine over the last 12 months, accounting for nearly half of the country’s total imports over the same period.”

          • leith says:

            Wiz –

            Thanks for that link.

            It seems though that only 16-17% of pre-invasion Russian gas is going through Ukrainian pipelines now. And Gazprom will shut that off in 2024. Note that of the EU countries still receiving Russian gas through the Ukrainian transit corridor (Slovakia, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Moldova) four are landlocked and Croatia & Slovenia have no LNG capable port terminal. And several of them have donated aid and weapons generously to Ukraine since the invasion. Oleksiy Chernyshov, the CEO of the state-owned Naftogaz energy giant, alludes to this in a September Newsweek interview: “Naftogaz is in a position to execute, run, and maintain this transit only in favor of Ukraine’s European partners. The only reason we are still technically doing that is just to support European countries, especially landlocked countries. Some countries have limited access to other channels, such as the Czechs, Austrians, Hungarians, Slovaks and others.”

            Interesting that Ukraine shutdown the Sokhranovka Gas Transit Point 18 months ago but not the Sudzha one. Undoubtedly because theft of gas from the Sokhranovka pipeline by the rebel government in Luhansk Oblast. Plus perhaps even applying Putin’s freeze-them-out strategy to Luhansk and Donetsk cities; and probably denial of energy sources to mil industry in the occupied areas?

          • wiz says:


            Who knows why Ukraine does the things it does.
            They would not be permitting the flow of spice if it wasn’t in their interest. This landlocked countries argument is somewhat shaky since Croatia does have a working LNG terminal in Omisalj, and from there, it is only a short hop to Slovenia, Austria, Italy etc.

            Its current capacity is not enough to fulfil all the demand but it is being expanded and there is also Turkstream.

          • leith says:

            Wiz –

            For reasons why Ukraine is permitting the flow of ‘spice’: I suspect it’s not making them rich as your earlier columbia.edu link says Russia was not paying them the agreed transit fees in full.

            What are your thoughts on reports of Ukraine buying back natural gas from Western traders as part of the Russian gas that goes through Ukrainian territory to Europe?

            I’ve read that there is an oil & petrol terminal at Omisalj. When did they build LNG facilities there?

  5. Eric Newhill says:

    I don’t believe a thing the Ukros say about any topic, including this one. IMO, Sy Hersch most likely got it mostly right and the Ukros are taking responsibility to divert from the US. Some Ukros are probably getting paid big time for doing so. Maybe some new evidence that supports Sy’s story is known to be surfacing soon.

    However, if the Ukros really did blow the pipeline, then they screwed the Germans; the very same Germans that gave them tanks and other goodies that even lasted a few days into the offensive. They also screwed, only to a slightly lesser degree, other NATO “allies”. What a bunch of arrogant scumbags.

    One would hope that this story will give NATO more excuses to back out of this failed attempt to save Ukraine and “bleed” Russia. The sooner Ukraine is throughly defeated and returned to Russia, the better. Actually, better yet, let Western Ukraine wither and descend into chaos only to be devoured by the Poles.

    • Yeah, Right says:

      I agree with Eric: the Ukrainians have agreed to take the heat for this in exchange for…. something. No idea what.

      But there are limits, and now we can see where those limits lie: at the level of a Colonel in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. But not any higher than that.

  6. j.g. the j.g. says:

    To this day, I’ve yet to see a meter (or metre, if you insist). Anything instituted by the French National Assembly of 1791 should be viewed with considerable skepticism. Anyway, how often has this mystical definition been changed over time. I’ll stick with foots (feet, if you insist).

  7. Yeah, Right says:

    Am I the only person who is suspicious that this story was published in the WaPo just one week after the assassination of a top aide to Zaluzhny?

    After all, the WaPo article insists that “The officer [Chervinsky] took orders from more senior Ukrainian officials, who ultimately reported to Gen. Valery Zaluzhny”

    Well, if that person who reported to Zaluzhny turns out to be Gennady Chestyakov then the latter’s demise has cut the chain of command: dead men tell no tales, and so Chervinsky is left with his ass flappin’ in the breeze.

    Seems much too much of a coincidence to me, but Chestyakov’s assassination appears to have been memory-holed.

    • F&L says:

      No, you’re far from the only one. The Russian press was replete with refutations and analysis yesterday almost as soon the story broke. I won’t trouble you with links, you’ve anticipated most of what they had to say. Btw, did anyone recall Biden’s outright threat during the time leading up to Feb 24, 2022, to render Nordstream dysfunctional while standing with Scholz at a presser? It’s not fingerprints or DNA but if the homesteaders are found scalped do you go looking for Billy the Kid or someone else whose portrait used to be on the 5 cent piece on the flip side from the buffalo silhouette?

      • TTG says:


        Nord Stream was rendered dysfunctional without blowing it up. Germany refused to open NS 2 much to the surprise of many. Necessary Western parts were not provided to Russia for its operation and Russia turned off the spigots. It was dead, bereft of life, like an abandoned carny ride long before it was blown up.

        • elkern says:

          No. NordStream was physically intact and “functional” until it was sabotaged (Russia was actually using it as a huge storage tank). Gas was not flowing for political reasons, but “political reasons” are never permanent.
          The pipeline could have been turned on within weeks (or months?) of any political reconciliation.

          IMO, the most likely motivation for destroying Nordstream was to remove a powerful economic incentive for Germany to abandon its support for Ukraine and negotiate with Russia.

          A mild winter helped Germany (and other EU countries) get by on LNG imports from USA, but higher energy costs are a real hit to the heavy industries that have made Germany the economic powerhouse of Europe for over a century. The biggest winner is US Oil/Gas Corps.

          Maybe Texas did it.

        • Fred says:


          Sanctions? What sanctions……

        • Yeah, Right says:

          Prior to the explosions no gas was flowing through the NS! pipeline, but it was still full of gas and that gas could be made to flow again with just a nod from the Germans.

          Think of Putin just standing there with his hand on the lever and a smirk on his face: “just say the word, Olaf, just say the words and this can all be yours.”

          Maybe Scholz would have cracked, or maybe he would not, but for as long as those pipelines are still intact then that temptation was always there.

          [BANG!] [BANG!]

          OK, that temptation is gone, never to return.

          That’s the reason why those pipelines were attacked: to cut off any possibility of Germany folding like a bad poker player.

  8. wiz says:

    These various “whodunnit” stories about NS terrorist sabotage act that regularly pop up in “trustworthy” publications remind me of a scene in the Schindler’s list movie.
    When the Nazi psychopath in charge (Amon Göth) tries to find out who stole the chicken and starts shooting people, a kid steps out and accuses the already dead man of the theft.

    Ukraine and Russia are already at war so why not accuse Ukraine of the act ? Costs

    Anything to misdirect attention from the real culprit.

    Maybe the next story will involve a rare species of self combusting fish that just happened to be in the vicinity.

  9. kim sky says:

    Timing of release of article? WHOdoneIT?

    I think the US had the most to gain, we’re selling expensive oil to Europe. There will eventually be blow-back for this? WHEN?

    All the nasty world leaders are too focused on maintaining power, from Putin to Biden to to Netanyahu, to all the idiots in Europe. Seeing how desperate the situation in Israel is, Netanyahu is still in power, even tho the people HATE him!!!

    How low does a country have to fall before they rise up and remove their horrible leaders, not a good omen for the rest of the world!

    Otherwise, more and more negative news about Ukraine these days, US finally going to pull out, maybe. Guess it keeps Russia busy elsewhere, unable or unwilling to help its ally Syria.

    • Fred says:


      “All the nasty world leaders are too focused on maintaining power….”

      Comrade Xi got Biden to kowtow in San Fran after the mayor got done cleaning the path of Xi’s motorcade. Xi’s not a world leader though, not at all.

  10. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Three comments:

    1. If Sy Hersh said Jens Stolenberg (born in 1959) had been working with the CIA since the Vietnam War (ended in 1973),
    I would not hold that against Hersh.
    The fundamental idea of a connection between the CIA and Stolenberg is possible.
    Surely we should not hold it against Hersh if he approximated the time frame for such.

    2. If you have an interest in what Hersh says in interviews re Nord Stream, here is a playlist:


    3. There is some bad news about the ability of the U.S. defense industry to produce the munitions that all these wars need.
    See this POLITICO article:


  11. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Somehow the URL for the POLITICO article got terminated.
    I think this is correct:


  12. Mark Logan says:

    The only thing I would add to this discussion is just how detailed sport fishing bottom mapping can be for sportsmen these days. Transducers that can produce images this detailed are no longer terribly expensive and/or difficult to obtain. They can even be transom (temporary) mounted these days.


    For this reason I see no reason to assume divers were necessary. It’s possible for any modern commercial fishing vessel or a sports fisherman to place explosive right up against a pipeline with an imager that can see both the pipeline and the dangling charge.

    • TTG says:

      Mark Logan,

      That’s an interesting concept. It would explain away any need for divers. Explosives could have been place robotically, but it still wouldn’t have worked from the Andromeda, perhaps a sub or surface oceanographic research ship.

      • Mark Logan says:

        TTG, No need for robots either. Four standard swabby-dufflebags packed with most any modern explosive, dangled from the yacht. Placed right next to the pipeline by being able to see both the pipeline and the bag from the fish-finding bottom mapper. I have a friend with a large Boston Whaler that is equipped with that Ray Marine rig. A favorite spot is about 500 yards off Shileshole Bay. They sunk an old tug there 130ft deep to provide an artificial reef, laying on it’s side. Great place for ling cod (scrumptious!) and the portholes on the thing are discernable with it.

        I’m full of doubts the account can be trusted but see it as entirely plausible. That yacht would serve.

        • TTG says:

          Mark Logan,

          I agree. It’s doable, but the evidence from the explosion sites indicate quite large line charges placed on the pipes. Estimates of the size of the explosions range from 100kg to several hundred. Don’t know if that’s doable from a dangled line.

          • Mark Logan says:


            Might be they draped line charges over the top. This investigation piece delves into the details of that yacht about 13 minutes in. Clearly one of the reasons there is so much focus on it is the difficulty in tracking down the people who rented it and the fake passports they left behind.


            Like they say, could’ve been by either side though.

  13. leith says:

    The story smells of BS typical for the Washington Post. I seriously doubt that the Ukrainians would have been able to pull this off. But if they had, it would have been Budanov as head of the GUR that gave the order. Zaluzhnyi would not have had anything to do with it. That alone destroys the source for the article.

  14. walrus says:

    Knowing the Bavaria 50 and similar yachts as well as doing considerable diving myself, this story is obviously pure fantasy BS as anyone with any technical nous would know.

    There is simply not enough room in that yacht for – 6 divers, support crew, their diving gear (professional grade heliox) AND the explosives necessary AND military grade Comms and similar support equipment..

    In addition the cockpit isn’t big enough to deploy and recover six amateur divers, let alone divers with military grade equipment, let alone the explosives.

    There is no feasible “Plan B” nor is there any mention of a medical backup plan including recompression.

    Those boats are designed for Mediteranean summer charter work and they do a good job at that.

  15. English Outsider says:

    You may have gathered, TTG, that I have little time for the Europoodles and their unique brand of aggrieved entitlement; but when it comes to cutting their own throats they are indeed world leaders.

    Whether we in the West are in the right or in the wrong in this conflict with Russia is something everyone has their own views on. But when it comes to the question of how we Europeans fought them in the sanctions war there is no room for disagreement whatsoever: right or wrong, the Europoodles screwed up.

    Everything to do with the supply of natural gas was weird, the sabotage of the pipes most of all.

    NS1 was the lifeline of German industry. Russian piped gas well below LNG prices and on long term contract allowed German industry to compete even with the Asian market.

    When the sanctions were imposed care was taken to ensure the supply of cheap Russian gas continued. Scholz declared on February 22nd 2022, before the Russian invasion but after the recognition of the self-declared republics, that NS2 would not come on stream. That made no odds in the short term. But NS1 was crucial. And the Germans ensured, sanctions or no, that NS1 kept flowing. So did Borrell.

    When Poland refused to take Russian gas direct as a matter or principle, NS1 became even more important. To get round the problem of the Poles having no gas, Russian gas was supplied to Germany and then supplied to the Poles reverse flow on Yamal. A profitable arrangement. The Germans bought gas from Russia cheaply and supplied it to Poland at the higher spot price. There wasn’t and isn’t much European solidarity when it comes to energy supply.

    The Germans then went on a price no object buying spree to ensure their gas storage was full for the winter. This drove natural gas prices in Europe up through the roof, upsetting the other Europeans who hadn’t got the buying muscle Germany had and who hadn’t been so quick off the mark. As said, when it comes to energy supplies in the European brotherhood of nations solidarity takes a back seat.

    There was also the problem of paying in roubles. Fudged on both sides, eventually, but leaving the central question unresolved. If Europe’s refusing to sell goods and services to Russia, what of value does it have to buy Russian fossil fuels and raw materials with? Don’t ever ask an economist about that problem. It’s too simple a question so as far as the economists are concerned it’s not a problem. In the real world I think it might be, eventually.

    There was a problem with the pumps. It looked to me at the time as if the Russians were deliberately restricting flow, using pump repair as an excuse. I’m not sure about that now.

    The pumps had to be repaired in Canada. Canada refused to release them because of sanctions. When Canada did release them at Scholz’s urgent request, there were further problems getting the repaired pumps back to Russia. The Russians wanted the pumps supplied sealed from the factory and sent direct via air freight. This is normal engineering practice with this type of sophisticated machinery, to preclude damage or tampering en route from the repairer.

    Instead the pumps were sent via Germany and put on public exhibition unsealed. That was not satisfactory from an engineering and legal liability point of view. There was also the problem that to receive the pumps the Russians had themselves to bend the sanctions rules. That also complicated matters when it came to legal liability.

    An amateurish muddle, the whole thing. I still think, however, that with good will on both sides the problem could have been solved rather more elegantly than it was. But Berlin/Brussels messed around and the Russians stuck by the rules (my view) far more than they need have done.

    Then the damn pipelines got blown up. If you’re going by motive suspect number one has to be Russia. The Russians are obsessed with holding to contracts. This NS1 contract gave the Germans cheap piped gas at a price well below spot and many times below LNG. Why would they keep sending cheap gas to Germany when what they got back was bullets? So given the Russian don’t like breaking contracts, what better way to scrub the deal than blowing up the delivery system?

    Except that there were other ways of cutting off that German gas supply legally than by resorting to the risky business of sabotage.

    The gas supply problem won’t go away. Orban, scenting trouble in the wind well before February ’22, went against the Third Energy Package and fixed up a cheap piped gas contract direct with Russia. Except his gas comes through Bulgaria so attempts are now being made to get the Bulgarians to make difficulties.

    And attention has throughout been focused on the wrong issue. Everyone was scared that Europe would fail to get fossil fuel any more. We’d freeze to death in short order.

    But we’ll always be able to buy gas and other fossil fuels as long as there’s any in the world to buy. We have to: Net Zero alone won’t keep the lights on. The trouble is price. LNG is very much more expensive than piped. All the workarounds to evade sanctions on fossil fuel generally push the price in Europe above normal. So we’re going to have to pay more for our heating and industry will become uncompetitive, especially the energy intensive industries. We won’t freeze, or most of us won’t. We’ll go bust.

    This is not what Scholz was hoping for when he launched his mini-Barbarossa II. I get very unpopular elsewhere by pointing out that what we’ve ended up with instead is Scholz’s DIY Morgenthau plan. And those four pipelines are still there, one intact and two of the others reparable. Beats me why they don’t just get on and use them. It’s not as if they’d be losing face doing so. They’d just be returning to the status quo and nobody sensible would think anything of it. Bloody Europoodles. Good only for cutting their own throats.

    • TTG says:


      Returning to the status quo would mean Russia returning to behind her borders. As long as Russia continues the invasion, I don’t see any way Germany or the rest of the West will return to status quo.

      • Yeah, Right says:

        Not while the SMO is still ongoing, no, the Germans won’t. Not if they have a choice, which is always a big “if”.

        But once the SMO ends and the Ukrainians sign a treaty with Russia that cedes Crimea and the Donetsk region to the Russians then, yeah, I would well see the Germans – and the rest of Europe – turning their back on this whole sorry episode and going back to what they do best: bickering amongst themselves.

        After all, if (again, the big “if”) Zelensky’s successor signs such a treaty then the Europeans have an “out” i.e. if the Ukrainians are cool with it then who are we to argue with them?

        • TTG says:

          Yeah, Right,

          If Ukraine gives up, Europe will have an out. If Ukraine is defeated outright, Europe may eventually have an out. If Ukraine defeats the Russian invasion, Europe will most definitely have an out.

      • English Outsider says:

        I put it wrong, TTG. By returning to the status quo I didn’t mean returning to the Europe/Russia relationship pre-2022. That’s never going to happen. Barring unlikely political change in Germany, not just in the government but in the electorate itself, the breach is permanent. I meant only the status quo with the supply of Russian piped gas.

        Before the pipes got blown up the Germans were at daggers drawn with Russia but still taking cheap piped gas from the Russians. They could still do that, if they had the sense. The pipes are still there and the contracts, presumably.

        They won’t though, will they? The death wish is strong in the Heimat and I know my Germany. Whether it’s making the best cars in the world or whether it’s wrecking the joint, they do things properly over there. Every two or three generations they turn their minds to wrecking the joint and one can only stand back and watch them do it with rueful admiration.

        Minor point. Forgot to mention that before the sabotage there was a further problem with the NS1 pumps. They were leaking oil, so that maintenance was needed there as well.

        But it’s all nonsense anyway, The NS1 turbines, Western made, might or might not have been out of action or might or might not have had sanctions problems. But there are turbines ready to go for NS2 as is shown by the fact that NS2 was filled with “technical gas” at pressure. No problems with sanctions because the turbines are already there and working.

        So the Russians could surely have used those pumps. Against that, Scholz messed around too, so maybe six of one and half a dozen of the other?

        On the sabotage, who did it is surely still an open question. The only observation I have on that is that the Germans were very reluctant indeed to discuss the subject. If it had been the Russians who did it, the Germans would have been screaming blue murder from the start.

        On the wider question of how the war will end, that’s been obvious at least since Istanbul. The Russians will absorb as much of Ukraine as they see fit and neutralise the rest. The only negotiation we’ll now see are on the terms of capitulation.

        It’s after that that it gets interesting. Europe is still heavily dependent on Russia for fossil fuel and raw materials. Russia may return to its 2021 European security demands. If it does, it won’t get those demands met by military action. Too much fuss and expense. It’ll merely need to cut supplies to Europe.

        Not saying they will. But it’s a possibility. None of the Europoodles – and I’m afraid HMG is very much in that category too – have put any thought into what their response should be if things happen to go that way.

  16. kodlu says:

    Also from the article, the fragment below is quite believable, as far as the planning is concerned. Alternative plans are always made in war.

    “The Dutch military intelligence service also reported to the Americans that the Ukrainians planned an attack on another pipeline in the Black Sea, called TurkStream. It’s not clear why that operation was never carried out. In October 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his country’s security services had prevented a Ukrainian attack on TurkStream. But Russian authorities have provided few details and are not known to have charged anyone in the alleged plot.”

    Turkey is trying to balance the two sides, though openly supporting Ukrainian sovereignty and selling arms to them, so maybe the Ukrainians thought it wasn’t worth it to worsen relations with Turkey with no clear payoff (Turkstream mostly supplies Turkey and Southeastern Europe) especially since Germany has already been severed from the Russian gas suply infrastructure.

  17. Keith Harbaugh says:

    The link between Joe Biden, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the destruction of Nord Stream 2? Utterly unarguable.
    Watch this 33-second video:
    Joe Biden: We will bring an end to it.

    I promise you we will be able to do it.

    That seems totally clear to me.
    First a statement of intent,
    then the assertion that he has the means to carry out his intent.

    I think “bringing an end to it” corresponds precisely to what actually happened.

    Some have argued Biden meant he could twist German arms to get Germany to shut down the pipeline.
    But he couldn’t be sure of that.
    The certainty that Biden expressed makes it clear that HE had the ability, via the forces he controlled, to “bring an end to it.”

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      I’m sure the US has the capability to blow up those pipelines or near any other pipeline she desires. But Germany did put an end to NS2 on day one of the invasion, probably as a result of the Biden administration sanctions arm twisting. Mission accomplished. If it comes out in the future that Germany was wavering on the continued NS2 shutdown, then I would have to reassess the probability that we did indeed blow it up.

  18. Stephanie says:

    Hersh blows hot and cold, but if not for him we probably wouldn’t have any articles like these. There was radio silence on the subject until his piece came out.

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