Nord Stream could be 'false flag' operation: Germany
STORY: Germany's government is warning that the story in the New York Times this week that a pro-Ukrainian group may be behind the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines last year should be treated with caution, because the attack could still have been a so-called "false flag" operation.
In other words, the true perpetrators could have staged the incident to blame Ukraine, even if that country had nothing to do with it.
The reactions to the story from world powers highlight both the mystery of the incident and the secretive nature of their war plans.
Germany's defense minister, Boris Pistorius, on Wednesday said it wouldn't be first time such a false flag event happened, and that there were what he called "expert opinions" indicating it, without elaborating.
He was at a summit in Stockholm also attended by NATO's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukraine's defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, who called the media reports "strange" and that the incident had nothing to do with Ukraine's government.
Stoltenberg said investigations are ongoing. The U.S. has said the same.
"There are ongoing national investigations and I think it's right to wait until those are finalised before we say anything more about who was behind."
The New York Times story revolves around intelligence reportedly reviewed by U.S. officials. Reuters can't verify the claims. The Times says the intelligence reports drew no firm conclusions, but that pro-Ukraine saboteurs were likely behind it.
It also said there was no evidence that Ukrainian President Zelenskiy or any of his top officials played a role.
The possible motive, according the Times: That destroying the pipeline would remove a potential method for Russia to get leverage over Europe through gas exports.
It is something Ukraine and its allies had warned about for years.
The Russian government has suggested that the New York Times report could be a coordinated effort to divert attention.
Meanwhile, two other reports from the German newspaper Zeit and ARD, a news channel, are reporting that authorities have identified a boat used in the sabotage.
It's said to be a yacht rented by five men and a woman using forged passports. The yacht's owner is a company in Poland owned by Ukrainian citizens, although the nationalities of the renters is unknown.