Putin names chief suspects for Nord Stream attack
The US and UK orchestrated the blasts on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, which delivered Russian natural gas to Germany, because they “obviously” benefit from it, President Vladimir Putin insisted on Friday.
Putin accused Washington of trying to pressure the EU into banning Russian supplies to “completely get its hands on the European market.”
“But the sanctions are no longer enough for the Anglo-Saxons,” he said, using Russian shorthand for the US-UK transatlantic alliance. “They have turned to sabotage – it’s unbelievable, but it’s a fact – by organizing the explosions on the Nord Stream international gas pipelines,” the president stated.
“They de facto began the destruction of the common European energy infrastructure. It’s obvious to everyone who benefits from it. Those who benefit are the ones who have done it.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced Putin's statement as part of “outrageous misinformation and disinformation campaigns” coming from Moscow.
“I really have nothing to say to the absurd allegation from President Putin that we are or other partners or allies are somehow responsible for this,” Blinken said, according to AFP.
Putin was speaking at the Kremlin ahead of signing treaties on the inclusion of the two Donbass republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, which declared independence from Ukraine, into the Russian Federation.
The Nord Stream pipelines lost pressure on Monday, after which four gas leaks appeared. The EU and several of its member states said the explosions were deliberate. Putin described the attack on Saturday as an act of terrorism.
Nord Stream 1 was already shut down due to prolonged maintenance when the leaks appeared. Russian operator Gazprom blamed the lengthy delay on Western sanctions that were imposed on Moscow following its military operation in Ukraine.
Nord Stream 2 was never fully operational because Germany halted certification of it in February in response to the Ukraine conflict.