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Army officer some media point to as Nord Stream blasts coordinator goes missing in Ukraine

The man, Roman Chervinsky, was under arrest in the case of a failed operation to recruit a Russian pilot

MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. A former commander of one of Ukraine’s special operations units, Roman Chervinsky, whom The Washington Post describes as the coordinator of explosions of the Nord Stream-1 and Nord Stream-2 offshore gas pipelines, has reportedly disappeared.

The man, Roman Chervinsky, was under arrest in the case of a failed operation to recruit a Russian pilot.

His whereabouts are unknown, his lawyers has said.

The Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (Mirror of the Week) weekly has quoted defense lawyer Konstantin Globa as saying that on April 19, Chervinsky's detention in the pre-trial detention center expired, but the court refused to consider his case. Nor did it set a date of the next hearing, after which his client was again taken to pre-trial detention center No. 14. Neither his wife nor his lawyers were allowed to see Chervynsky there. Chervinsky's defense lawyers argue that he was kidnapped, the media resource says.

Chervinsky was arrested in April 2023 on charges of abuse of power. According to the investigators, he had decided on his own, without asking the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) or military intelligence for approval to recruit a Russian pilot with the aim to seize a Russian military airplane. As a result of a leak of data on the deployment of Ukrainian personnel and equipment at the Kanatovo airfield the facility came under a Russian strike. The commander of the military unit was killed, 17 servicemen were wounded, two fighter jets destroyed and the runway was damaged. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said the Ukrainian side's plans to recruit pilots had been exposed by Russian counterintelligence, which allowed them to hit a number of Ukrainian military facilities.

A few months later, in November 2023, The Washington Post, citing Ukrainian officials and European sources, pointed to Chervinsky as the coordinator of the plot to blow up the Nord Stream-1 and Nord Stream-2 offshore pipelines. According to the daily, he was responsible for logistical issues and support for a team of six people who had rented a yacht and used deep-sea diving equipment to plant explosives at the sabotage sites. A number of experts called this version implausible.

The explosions and unprecedented destruction at three strings of the Nord Stream-1 and Nord Stream-2 offshore gas pipelines were reported on September 27, 2022. The Russian Prosecutor General's Office launched criminal proceedings over a case of an act of international terrorism. Later, US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh wrote in his article that explosive devices were laid under the pipelines in June 2022 by US Navy divers with the support of Norwegian specialists. At the same time, The New York Times quoted US officials as saying that the act of sabotage against the gas pipelines could have been carried out by a certain "pro-Ukrainian group" that acted without the knowledge of the US authorities.