Ship allegedly involved in Nord Stream sabotage searched: Germany
The Federal Prosecutor's Office of Germany says it searched a ship suspected of being used in last year's sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines.
The Federal Prosecutor's Office of Germany on Wednesday confirmed that searches had been carried out on a ship that was allegedly carrying explosives to blow up the Nord Stream gas pipelines, adding that there is no evidence yet that a certain state was managing the operation.
"From January 18 to January 20, 2023, federal prosecutors searched the ship in connection with its suspicious lease. There is a suspicion that the ship in question could be used to transport explosive devices that exploded on September 26, 2022, on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea," the prosecutor's office told RIA Novosti.
It pointed out that at the moment, the evaluation of the seized material evidence and traces is ongoing, and the identity of the perpetrators and their motives are also the subjects of ongoing investigations.
"There is currently no reliable evidence on this matter, especially on the issue of state control," the prosecutor's office noted, adding that "there are no suspicions regarding the employees of the German company that leased the ship."
This comes just a day after a New York Times report cited US officials as saying that they saw new intel that a "pro-Ukrainian group" sabotaged the Nord Stream gas pipelines last year.
In a report that did not identify the source of the intelligence or the group involved, the Times said the US officials had no evidence implicating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the pipeline bombing.
In the meantime, the German government said it had taken note of the New York Times report.
A couple of days ago, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden informed the United Nations Security Council that investigations into the Nord Steam sabotage are ongoing and that there are still no results, a spokesperson for the German Chancellery indicated.
Read more: Norway under fire for making record billions from gas and oil revenues
White House cannot confirm 'pro-Ukrainian group' attacked Nord Stream
The United States National Security Council (NSC) said on Wednesday that it is unable to confirm the Times report.
"The NSC is unable to confirm this NYT report. As the reporter acknowledges in this podcast linked below, the anonymous claims in the NYT report did not come from downgraded intelligence shared by the US government and sources were not authorized to speak on behalf of the US government," NSC Spokesperson Adrienne Watson tweeted.
The NSC is unable to confirm this NYT report.— Adrienne Watson (@NSC_Spox) March 8, 2023
As the reporter acknowledges in this podcast linked below, the anonymous claims in the NYT report did not come from downgraded intelligence shared by the US govt, and sources were not authorized to speak on behalf of the U.S. govt. https://t.co/eJNbyp1JRK
"Several of our European partners (Germany, Sweden, Denmark) have opened investigations into what happened and those investigations are ongoing. We will refer reporters to those European countries for comment on their own investigations," Watson said.
In February, veteran US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that with Norway's assistance, the United States was behind the operation to bomb the pipelines.
Back then, the White House described Hersh's report, which cited an unnamed source, as "complete fiction".
Read more: West may be concealing Nord Stream probe findings: French General
New Nord Stream reports part of disinformation campaign: Kremlin
Earlier, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Sputnik that media reports about Nord Stream sabotage are part of a coordinated spread of disinformation and an attempt to push attention away from the real perpetrators.
The Kremlin wonders how US officials that media reports cite can assume anything about the attacks without an investigation, the Russian Spokesperson said.
He called for an investigation into the Nord Stream attacks; one where Russia would be a participant in the probe.
Read more: Chinese MoFA urges Washington for truth about Nord Stream explosions
Zakharova: Media leaks come from those against probe into blasts
Similarly, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday that the Nord Stream sabotage leaks to Western media are constructed to hinder any legal investigation and divert the audience's attention.
On her Telegram channel, Zakharova emphasized that the Western governments engaged in the incident should respond to the formal demands made by Moscow and take into account the findings of the journalistic investigation conducted by Seymour Hersh.
Read more: UN partners unwilling to cooperate on Nord Stream blast probe: Russia
"I've got nothing to say": Hersh
On his part, Hersh declined to comment to Sputnik on the New York Times report.
"Well, I'm just looking at it. Gee, the sources aren't named," the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist told Sputnik on Tuesday.
"I've got nothing to say," he added.
Read more: Kremlin blasts Western media downplay of Hersh’s documents
Kiev 'absolutely not involved' in Nord Stream attacks: Zelensky aide
Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Reuters that Kiev was "absolutely not involved" in last year's sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, claiming that he has no information about what happened.
Read more: Kiev suggested a year ago Nord Stream 2 had to be stopped