March 8, 2023 - 12:38pm

Exactly one month ago today, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh published a detailed report in which he claimed that America was behind the Nord Stream 2 pipeline explosions. Until then, rumours swirled as to who the guilty party was. 

Speaking to UnHerd‘s Freddie Sayers after that article’s publication, professor of Public Policy at Columbia University Jeffrey Sachs concurred that America was the only country with the motive and means to pull it off. He dismissed Sayers’s suggestion that it could have been Russian or Ukrainian-affiliated groups:


Freddie Sayers: Okay, scenario number two, what about some organisation connected to the Ukrainian government that wanted to fast-forward Western opposition to Russia, essentially frame the Russians for having blown up the pipeline and get increased Western support? It’s been talked about as a theory, is it plausible?

Jeffrey Sachs: It’s absurd. Ukraine doesn’t have the capacity to do it. Ukraine would never do it without the US approval. So there’s absolutely no way that some rogue Ukrainian operation is responsible for this. It’s absurd.

One week later, respected security adviser Fiona Hill spoke to UnHerd and advanced the same theory, sending shockwaves across the UK and US security establishments:


Fiona Hill: I don’t believe it was the United States. If the United States had done that, by now, somebody would have laid claim to this. The United States can be a leaky sieve in terms of information. Some of my colleagues who have been looking at this think Ukraine could have done it. And this isn’t implausible, because they already managed to launch a pretty significant strike on the Kerch (Crimean) Bridge, but I haven’t seen any evidence.

Two weeks on, and reporting by the New York Times suggests that this theory is now becoming mainstream. According to fresh intelligence reports, US officials now believe that a pro-Ukrainian group carried out the attack: “The review of newly collected intelligence suggests they were opponents of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia,” the NYT reports. “But does not specify the members of the group, or who directed or paid for the operation.”

The story notes that there is no evidence of President Zelenskyy’s involvement or the Ukrainian government. Nor has it made any of the new intelligence public.