Joint News Report Finds High-Ranking Ukraine Officer Coordinated Nord Stream Pipeline Attack

Nov 13, 2023

A high-ranking Ukrainian military officer played a major role in a 2022 attack on two major natural gas pipelines that connect Russia to Western Europe. That’s according to reports in The Washington Post and the German newspaper Der Spiegel.

The attack badly damaged the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. It spewed tens of thousands of tons of methane into the air. It was arranged by Roman Chervinsky, the reports say. He's a former intelligence officer in Ukraine’s special forces. The reports also say Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy did not know about the attack before it happened. 

The two outlets partnered on the story and published it at the same time Saturday. They relied on interviews with many unnamed sources. As of midday Sunday, Ukrainian officials had not given public statements on the reports.

Chervinsky denied any role in the pipeline attack through his lawyer. The lawyer called the charges a smear campaign. Chervinsky is a frequent critic of Zelenskyy. He was arrested in April. He was accused of giving away the spot of an Ukrainian airfield. That led to a Russian rocket attack that killed one soldier. It also injured at least 17 others.

As stated by the Post and Der Spiegel, the attackers used false names to rent a sailboat to reach the pipeline. From there, they placed explosives on the underwater pipes. The September 26, 2022, blast rendered all but one of the network’s pipelines linking Russia to other parts of Europe out of service. It happened as winter approached.

No one has claimed fault for the attack. This has prompted many criminal investigations. 

Photo from Reuters.

Reflect: Do you think it’s important to uncover who is responsible for something, even if it takes years to do? Explain.

According to the article, where were the pipelines located? (Common Core RI.5.1; RI.6.1)
a. underwater
b. beneath an airfield
c. in Ukraine’s territory
d. in Eastern Europe
For more formative assessments, visit to start a free trial.

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