Russia blames US for blasts that damaged Nord Stream gas pipelines
Now Russia blames America for the explosions that blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea last year that threatened Europe’s supplies and prompted a price spike
- Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov accused the U.S. of ‘direct involvement’
- He said a U.S. diplomat’s hailing of the pipeline’s destruction was a ‘confession’
- Swedish and Danish authorities determined the pipelines were sabotaged but no party has yet proven another’s involvement
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the United States of direct involvement in explosions that severely damaged the Nord Stream gas pipelines carrying Russian gas to Europe.
Russia’s chief diplomat referenced a recent statement made by U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, who in a recent Senate hearing hailed the destruction of the pipeline. Lavrov described her words as a ‘confession’.
‘This is not only the direct participation of the United States in the explosions of the Nord Stream pipelines. Ms. Nuland has now made a confession,’ he told state television in an interview broadcast earlier today.
Nuland said on January 26: ‘I am, and I think the (Biden) administration is very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 is now… a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea.’
No one has claimed responsibility for the explosions, despite two separate investigations by Swedish and Danish authorities having concluded the pipelines were sabotaged.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (pictured) has accused the United States of direct involvement in explosions that severely damaged the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea
A swirl of bubbles more than 200 metres wide is seen in this image taken from a helicopter after damage to the Nord Stream pipelines sent hundreds of thousands of tons of methane rushing to the ocean surface
In September, several underwater explosions ruptured the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines that link Russia and Germany across the Baltic Sea and are owned by Russian energy giant Gazprom.
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Nord Stream 1 was idle at the time of the explosions because of technical issues complicated by Western sanctions on Russia. Nord Stream 2 was completed in September 2021, but was never put into operation as Berlin shelved its certification days before Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022.
However, Nord Stream 1 still had huge quantities of gas sitting idle in the pipe, so the explosions which split the shell sent roughly 500,000 tons of methane gas spewing into the ocean and triggering warnings of public hazard and fears of environmental damage.
‘We can conclude that there have been detonations at Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the Swedish exclusive economic zone that has led to extensive damage to the gas pipelines,’ Swedish public prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said in a statement following an inspection of the pipeline.
Ljungqvist added that the ‘crime scene investigation had strengthened the suspicions of aggravated sabotage.’
Western intelligence agencies pinned the blame on Russia, arguing that damaging the pipeline was part of a tactic designed to ramp up energy prices in Europe over the winter months while encouraging Western populations to rethink their support of Ukraine.
Putin declared there was ‘no doubt’ the explosions were the result of a Western ‘terrorist attack’ to ‘undermine the energy security of the entire continent.
Russian commentators pointed out that neither gas pipeline was in use prior to the blasts and questioned why the Kremlin would damage its own asset, costing Gazprom billions.
And the Russian foreign ministry claimed Britain’s Royal Navy was involved in orchestrating the blasts which damaged the pipeline, though cited no evidence.
This handout picture released on September 30, 2022 by the Danish Defence Command and taken on September 29, 2022 shows one of four gas leaks at one of the damaged Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea
Three explosions ripped through the pipelines in late September with the force of a huge car bomb, according to intelligence experts. Camera footage from an underwater drone shows huge chunks of the pipeline ripped apart deep underwater
London at the time strongly rebuffed the allegations, with the British Ministry of Defence declaring the Kremlin had ‘invented a story’ which ‘says more about arguments going on inside the Russian government than it does about the West’.
In a statement the Government department added: ‘To detract from their disastrous handling of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defence is resorting to peddling false claims of an epic scale.’
Neither side has yet been able to produce evidence of the other’s involvement.
In his interview on state TV today, Lavrov also said the West was lying about Russia’s refusal to negotiate over Ukraine and was trying to turn Moldova, Georgia and former Soviet states in Central Asia against Moscow.
Moldovan authorities however quickly responded, declaring the nation had chosen its own future as ‘part of the free world’ and dismissing the Russian foreign minister’s claim that the West was trying to turn the tiny country into an enemy of the Kremlin.
‘We categorically reject the statement by the head of Russian diplomacy, which does not correspond to reality, and is part of the already well-known threatening rhetoric of Russian diplomacy,’ Moldova’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
The European Union accepted Moldova and neighbouring Ukraine as candidate members last June.
‘We would like to remind the Russian side that the path Moldova is following is the path of accession to the EU.
‘Moldova has clearly chosen its future, and this future is part of the free world,’ the foreign ministry’s statement concluded.
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