WASHINGTON, June 6 (Reuters) - The United States learned of a Ukrainian plan to attack the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines three months before they were damaged last September by underwater explosions, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing leaked information posted online.
The CIA learned last June, through a European spy agency, that a six-person team of Ukrainian special operations forces intended to blow up the Russia-to-Germany project, the newspaper reported.
The intelligence reporting was shared online on Discord, purportedly by Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira, who was arrested in April and charged in relation to the leak of sensitive U.S. documents. The Washington Post said it obtained a copy from one of Teixeira’s online friends.
The intelligence report was based on information provided by a person in Ukraine, the Washington Post said, adding the CIA shared it with Germany and other European countries in June 2022.
The Post said officials in multiple countries had confirmed that the intelligence summary posted on Discord accurately stated what the European service told the CIA.
White House spokesperson John Kirby said on Monday that investigations into the Nord Stream attack were active.
“The last thing that we’re going to want to do from this podium is get ahead of those investigations,” Kirby said when asked about The Post’s reporting on the matter.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 put Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas in the political spotlight. The destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines hastened the region’s switch to other energy suppliers.
Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, each consisting of two pipes, were built by Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom to pump 110 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas a year to Germany.
The Post said it agreed to withhold the name of the European intelligence agency as well as some aspects of the suspected plan at the request of government officials, citing risks to sources and operations.
The CIA did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Reuters could not immediately confirm the intelligence cited by the Washington Post.
Several underwater explosions ruptured the Nord Stream 1 and the newly built Nord Stream 2 pipelines that link Russia and Germany across the Baltic Sea in September 2022.
The blasts occurred in the economic zones of Sweden and Denmark. Both countries said the explosions were deliberate, but have yet to determine who was responsible. Those countries and Germany are investigating.
Washington and NATO called the incident “an act of sabotage.” Moscow blamed the West, accusing investigators of dragging their feet and trying to conceal who was behind the attack.
Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Rami Ayyub in Washington; Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Jasper Ward; Editing by Jon Boyle, Andrea Ricci and Grant McCool