A Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report on Poland’s alleged role in the Nord Stream gas pipelines blasts last September is “completely untrue,” the Polish National Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement to the country’s daily Rzeczpospolita on Thursday.
Citing German investigators, the US media outlet claimed in early June that the EU nation supposedly served as an operational base for the suspects that might be behind the Russian natural gas pipeline sabotage. A Polish source familiar with the investigation told the paper that Berlin allegedly knew very little about some of the suspects and might be following the wrong track entirely.
Warsaw has launched its own probe into last September’s incident, alongside Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, the prosecutor’s office told the Polish outlet. The data gathered by Polish officials contradicts the claims made by the WSJ, it added.
“The statement that ‘Poland was a logistics hub for the operation of blowing up Nord Stream’ is completely untrue and is not supported by the evidence of the investigation,” the prosecutor’s office said.
The WSJ reported that a yacht called the ‘Andromeda’ – which was chartered by a Ukrainian-owned, Warsaw-based travel agency and moored at a Polish port – had been sailing around each of the locations where the explosions later occurred.
The Polish prosecutor’s office said there was “no direct evidence” of the yacht’s or its crew’s involvement in the blasts. ‘Andromeda’ arrived in Poland from a small German port called Wiek with six people on board. It moored in one of the Polish ports for 12 hours before leaving the nation’s territorial waters, according to the prosecutors.
“The findings of the investigation show that, during the stay of the yacht in a Polish port, no items were loaded onboard, and the crew of the yacht was inspected by the Polish Border Guard,” the prosecutor’s office said. The vessel’s crew had Bulgarian passports, which appeared authentic, according to the officials. None of the crew members were banned from entering the Schengen area either, they added.
“There is no evidence that would indicate the participation of Polish citizens in blowing up the Nord Stream pipeline,” the prosecutor’s office concluded.
A source familiar with the Polish probe also told Rzeczpospolita that German investigators had contacted Polish officials in mid-May and requested information under the European Investigation Order. The Germans asked many questions about ‘Andromeda’ and its crew, including “many trivial facts,” the source said, adding that they apparently had no knowledge of them. Berlin was also not willing to share its own findings on the issue, the source added.
Rzeczpospolita’s source also questioned the yacht’s role in the sabotage operation by claiming that it could not be used to transport enough explosives to relevant locations and deliver them to the undersea pipelines. No equipment that could facilitate that was found onboard, they added.
Rzeczpospolita also reported that Polish officials had not ruled out the possibility that the yacht might have been used as a distraction from the very onset and its purpose was to put the entire investigation on the wrong track.