Thursday briefing: The mystery of the Nord Stream sabotage – and who may be responsible

11 months ago 42

In today’s newsletter: In September divers planted explosives on the Russian gas pipeline – this is what German investigators now say about what happened

Good morning. The story goes like this: last September, five men and one woman – a captain, two divers, two assistants, and a doctor – used professionally forged passports to rent a yacht from a Polish-registered company owned by two Ukrainians. The saboteurs set sail from the German city of Rostock, and made their way to two sites in international waters in the Baltic Sea.

The divers planted explosives on the Nord Stream pipelines connecting Russian natural gas supplies to western Europe. The bombs rendered three of the four conduits essential to Russia’s future supply of gas inoperable. And the operation set off an international diplomatic incident – and mystery – with potentially profound consequences for the war in Ukraine that persist to this day.

Immigration and asylum | Rishi Sunak faces a fresh clash with the EU after a warning that his contentious new migration bill will be in breach of human rights laws. Ylva Johansson, the EU commissioner for home affairs, said she personally told home secretary Suella Braverman that she believes her asylum plans breach international law.

Dominic Raab | Boris Johnson previously warned Dominic Raab about his conduct, according to media reports that claim the former prime minister has given evidence to the bullying investigation. The justice secretary faces claims from at least 24 civil servants.

Childcare | New data shows some parents face spending as much as 80% of their take-home pay on childcare while others struggle to find a provider because of supply gaps. On Thursday, Labour will promise parents of young children 30 hours of free childcare a week, if the party is elected.

Media | The BBC will have a “frank conversation” with Match of the Day host Gary Lineker after he compared the language used by the Home Office to promote the government’s migration bill to that used in Nazi Germany. While Conservatives criticised Lineker for being “out of step with the British public”, he tweeted on Wednesday: “I’ll continue to try and speak up for those poor souls that have no voice.”

The Guardian | The Guardian has won daily newspaper of the year and supplement of the year for Saturday magazine at the Press Awards. Aditya Chakrabortty was named columnist of the year (broadsheet), while Jay Rayner was awarded critic of the year for the Observer. The Guardian’s political editor Pippa Crerar was named political journalist of the year for her work at the Daily Mirror.

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