Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Putin's Pipe-Lying Problem, Con't

A lot of ink has been spilled over the Nord Stream pipelines, but the fact remains that the Nord Stream pipelines both blew up, and somebody is responsible for it. Russia blames the US, the US blames Russia, but the actual team that did it could very well be Ukrainian, at least, that's what the Washington Post is reporting today.
Three months before saboteurs bombed the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline, the Biden administration learned from a close ally that the Ukrainian military had planned a covert attack on the undersea network, using a small team of divers who reported directly to the commander in chief of the Ukrainian armed forces.

Details about the plan, which have not been previously reported, were collected by a European intelligence service and shared with the CIA in June 2022. They provide some of the most specific evidence to date linking the government of Ukraine to the eventual attack in the Baltic Sea, which U.S. and Western officials have called a brazen and dangerous act of sabotage on Europe’s energy infrastructure.

The European intelligence reporting was shared on the chat platform Discord, allegedly by Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira. The Washington Post obtained a copy from one of Teixeira’s online friends.

The intelligence report was based on information obtained from an individual in Ukraine. The source’s information could not immediately be corroborated, but the CIA shared the report with Germany and other European countries last June, according to multiple officials familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence operations and diplomatic discussions.
Which brings us back to the Discord leaks on Ukraine's military intelligence to begin with. The folks profiting the most from this scenario are of course Vladimir Putin and his merry band of oligarchs. How white-hot intel like this ended up in the hands of an Air Force reservist, well, as I've said since Snowden, the Russians have had the crown jewels of US intelligence for nearly a decade now. 

And pointing the finger at Ukraine for the pipeline is exactly the kind of thing Russia wants in order to justify actions like this.

A torrent of water burst through a massive dam on the Dnipro River that separates Russian and Ukrainian forces in southern Ukraine on Tuesday, flooding a swathe of the war zone, forcing villagers to flee and prompting finger-pointing from both sides.

Ukraine said Russia had committed a deliberate war crime in blowing up the Soviet-era Nova Kakhovka dam. The Kremlin blamed Ukraine, saying it was trying to distract from the launch of a major counteroffensive Moscow says is faltering.

Some Russian-installed officials said the dam had collapsed on its own.

Neither side offered immediate public evidence of who was to blame. The Geneva Conventions explicitly ban targeting dams in war because of the danger to civilians.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from settlements along the southern stretch of Ukraine's Dnipro river as flood waters submerged streets, town squares and homes.

It was not immediately clear if anyone had been killed. The White House said it could not say conclusively what caused the destruction of the dam, but spokesman John Kirby said it had probably caused "many deaths".

Lidia Zubova, 67, waiting for a train out of the city of Kherson in Ukrainian government-controlled territory after abandoning her inundated village of Antonivka, told Reuters: "Our local school and stadium downtown were flooded... The road was completely flooded, our bus got stuck."
The suffering in Crimea because of the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam is already massive, with thousands fleeing the area, and sustainability of water supplies in the region now questionable for decades. It's a straight up violation of the Geneva Conventions, but it happens to be payback for the Nord Stream, and everyone knows it.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is becoming more and more of a nightmare each day, it seems. And Putin is still the one laughing about it.

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