The Ukrainian capital of Kyiv lost control of Crimea and Donbas after the coup in 2014, which prompted the people of Crimea to demand the restoration of Russian identity and return in the arms of Russia while the people of the Donbas region pushed to declare independence from Kyiv by establishing two popular republics in the region.
Experts attribute the scandal to the North Stream-2 gas pipeline, which makes people in the US, Poland and the Baltic states unhappy. Washington has long sought to thwart the project in any possible way, including through direct pressure on Germany. Opponents of the pipeline may be repeating the “Skripal” case scenario to raise tensions between Moscow and Berlin. Hopefully, common sense and a pragmatic approach will prevail.
The claim is a conspiracy theory without any proof. It is also consistent with the recurring pro-Kremlin narratives that there is no proof behind accusations against Russia and more general claims of Russophobia. Amid the murder of Georgian citizen Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, Germany expelled two Russian diplomats. Germany's federal prosecutor said that "there are sufficient factual grounds to suggest that the killing... was carried out either on behalf of state agencies of the Russian Federation or those of the Autonomous Chechen Republic, as part of the Russian Federation." Bellingcat, together with the Insider and Spiegel, identified the Berlin bicycle assassin as Vadim Nikolaevich Krasikov who entered France and then Germany under the fake identity of Vadim Sokolov. Krasikov was suspected of the murder of a Russian businessman in 2013 but Russia withdrew the Interpol warrant. See similar narratives on Skripal and MH17 cases. Disinformation on Nord Stream 2 can be seen here.