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Poland dismisses yacht crew suspected of Nord Stream sabotage as ‘tourists’

Warsaw has said that no traces of explosives have been found on a vessel allegedly rented by a Ukrainian-owned company

A senior Polish official has described the crew of a yacht suspected of being involved in the attack on Nord Stream gas pipelines last year as ‘tourists’. An investigation by an international media conglomerate has suggested that the blast may have been orchestrated by Ukrainian nationals.

The statement was made by Stanislaw Zaryn, the secretary of state at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland, who spoke to ARD TV, which, along with Die Zeit, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, and several other outlets, investigated the explosion that damaged the two gas pipelines connecting Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea last September.

The investigation focused on a yacht called Andromeda allegedly rented by a team of saboteurs several weeks before the blast. At least several of whom are said to be Ukrainians, and the charter fee was paid by a company owned by a Ukrainian businessman identified as Rustem A.

A week before the explosion, Andromeda reportedly stopped at the Polish port city of Kolobrzeg. Commenting on the media findings, Zaryn said, as quoted by Die Zeit, that Warsaw has “no doubts that there was no explosive material on this boat.”

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The official stressed that the Polish authorities believe the trip had a “purely touristic character.” “There was nobody in the group who had anything close to military or sabotage-related training.”

However, according to the journalists, in January 2023, an investigative team found traces of HMX on the boat – the same explosive found at the attack sites.

The reporters also claimed that the first rumors of the planned sabotage were picked up by a Dutch intelligence officer who informed his superiors that a commando unit of six people acting under the guise of scuba divers was set to blow up the pipeline.

The officer’s source allegedly claimed that while Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky knew nothing of the upcoming attack, the unit was reporting to Valery Zaluzhny, the commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Information about the attack is said to have been shared with the CIA. It was said to be planned for June 19, but it did not happen on this date.

While the investigation by the media conglomerate indicates a Ukrainian role in the sabotage, American journalist Seymour Hersh has blamed the attack on the US, which he said wanted to force Germany to take a hard stance on Russia amid the Ukraine conflict. Moscow officials have also repeatedly blamed the West for the explosion.

September 27, 2023 at 02:59PM

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