Nord Stream saboteurs used Poland as base for their operation, WSJ investigation claims

A team of saboteurs who blew up the Nord Stream pipelines used Poland as their operational base, a report by the Wall Street Journal claimed on June 8.

The report draws on an investigation by German authorities, which appear to have garnered evidence that a yacht – named Andromeda – allegedly used to attack the pipelines was rented via a Warsaw-based travel agent and sailed through Polish territorial waters in the run-up to the blasts.

German authorities also suspect that a Poland-registered van – which was spotted in a German port – was used to supply the saboteurs, the WSJ also reported.

“The probe by Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office is examining why the yacht they believe was used to carry out the operation journeyed into Polish waters,” the WSJ wrote.

“Other findings suggest Poland was a hub for the logistics and financing of last September’s undersea sabotage attack that severed the strongest bond tying Berlin to Moscow,” the US newspaper also wrote.

The Polish government reportedly did not know about the German probe into the attack and only found out about it from the media.

Not informing Warsaw about the investigation could increase tension between Poland and Germany, the latter being accused by the radical right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) government of long-term appeasement of Russia.

Poland and Germany are also allies within Nato, which has been on high alert since Russia attacked in Ukraine in February 2022. Bordering on Ukraine, Russia (via the Kaliningrad region), and Russia’s ally Belarus, Poland is the alliance’s strategic member state.

Polish investigators into the Nord Stream blowups say that it is highly unlikely that Andromeda was in any way linked to the attack, the newspaper Rzeczpospolita reported in late May.

“The people on the yacht didn’t look like professionals who could carry out such a task. They were partying and loud … no professional would have attracted attention in this manner,” a Polish investigator told Rzeczpospolita.

Poland also says that the Warsaw-based travel agent – called Feeria Lwowa – that Germans linked to the attack appeared too conspicuous to have been used in the operation.

The travel agent – which does not have a phone number or website – saw its revenue multiply from PLN1mn (€230,000) in 2019 to nearly PLN14mn in 2020, the year of the tightest travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Rzeczpospolita.

Warsaw has suggested instead that the Nord Stream attack might have been a false flag operation carried out by Russia.

Ukraine has denied involvement in the attacks.

“I believe that our military and our intelligence did not do it, and when anyone claims the opposite I would like them to show us the evidence,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the German newspaper Bild newspaper, as cited by the WSJ.