West rejects Putin's claim it sabotaged Baltic pipelines

The Russian president claims Anglo-Saxons in the West have turned from sanctions to "terror attacks”, sabotaging the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines



A large disturbance in the sea can be observed off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm following a series of unusual leaks on two natural gas pipelines running from Russia under the Baltic Sea to Germany. — AP
A large disturbance in the sea can be observed off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm following a series of unusual leaks on two natural gas pipelines running from Russia under the Baltic Sea to Germany. — AP

By AP

Published: Fri 30 Sep 2022, 8:05 PM

The United States and its allies have vehemently denied Russian President Vladimir Putin’s accusation that the West had sabotaged Russia-built gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea to Germany. Nordic nations said the undersea blasts that damaged the pipelines this week and have led to huge methane leaks involved several hundred pounds of explosives.

The claim by Putin came ahead of an emergency meeting on Friday at the UN Security Council in New York on the attacks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines and as Norwegian researchers published a map projecting that a huge plume of methane released by damaged pipelines will travel over large swaths of the Nordic region.

Speaking on Friday in Moscow at a ceremony to annex four regions of Ukraine into Russia, Putin claimed that the "Anglo-Saxons" in the West have turned from sanctions on Russia to "terror attacks”, sabotaging the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in what he described as an attempt to "destroy the European energy infrastructure”.

He added that "those who profit from it have done it”, without naming a specific country.

Moscow says it wants a thorough international probe to assess the damage to the pipelines, which carry Russian natural gas to Europe. Putin's spokesman has said "it looks like a terror attack, probably conducted on a state level”.

European nations, which have been reeling under soaring energy prices caused by the Ukraine crisis, have noted that it is Russia, not Europe, that benefits from chaos in the energy markets and spiking prices for energy.

Even before Putin's comments, US State Department spokesman Ned Price strongly rejected any claims that the US might have sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines.

"The idea that the United States was in any way involved in the apparent sabotage of these pipelines is preposterous. It is nothing more than a function of Russian disinformation and should be treated as such," Price said.

The US has long been opposed to the two pipelines and had repeatedly urged Germany to halt them, saying they increase Europe's energy dependence on Russia and decrease its security.

Nord Stream 2 is a 1,230-kilometre-long (764-mile-long) natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, running from Russia to Germany's Baltic coast. It runs parallel to an earlier Nord Stream pipeline and would double its capacity, to 110 billion cubic metres of gas a year. It was built so Russian energy giant Gazprom could send gas to Europe's pipeline system without using existing pipelines that run through Ukraine and Poland.

Denmark and Sweden, meanwhile, said on Friday the explosions that rocked the Baltic Sea ahead of the huge methane leaks "probably corresponded to an explosive load of several hundred kilos (pounds)”.


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