How Ukraine’s secret agents re-learned the art of shadow warfare

© John MacDougall, AFP

New revelations in the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipeline in September 2022 have strengthened the case for Kyiv’s involvement, with a controversial Ukrainian secret agent alleged to have been the brains behind the operation. Although Kyiv continues to deny responsibility, there is little doubt that the Ukrainian intelligence services are playing a very special role in the war against Russia.

New "proof" of Ukrainian involvement in the sabotage of the Nord Stream I and II natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea was published by the Washington Post and German magazine Der Spiegel on Saturday November 11. The two publications claimed to have identified the Ukrainian "mastermind" behind the explosive operation.

Roman Chervinsky, a veteran Ukrainian spy, is alleged to have "coordinated" the team of six saboteurs suspected of setting off explosive charges near the Nord Stream pipelines on September 26, 2022, several sources – "both Ukrainian and among the international teams of security experts connected to this case" – told the two publications, according to Der Spiegel.

‘Hothead’ or ‘patriot’?

"Their actions have a strategic impact on the course of the conflict,” he said.

Soviet Union’s long shadow

“Before 2014, they were really kind of a joke,” he said. “The SBU [Security Service of Ukraine] was used to spy on political enemies – and was corrupt.”

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