US blocking Nord Steam probe – Russia
The US government is obstructing efforts to investigate the sabotage of the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines, which sustained major damage in a series of explosions last year, Russia’s embassy in Washington has said.
The embassy issued a statement late on Thursday night in response to recent comments from Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who insisted to a a congressional hearing that the US had no role in the attacks on the two Nord Stream lines.
“We have to remind that statements by US officials, who have repeatedly resorted to deceit and disinformation, including at international fora, are not trustworthy,” the statement emphasized, adding that while the US has cited “ongoing national investigations” in Europe, it continues to block Russia's own attempts to find answers.
Explanations from US officials do not “withstand criticism,” the embassy continued, “above all due to their lack of transparency and blocking access to PJSC Gazprom (the owner of the pipelines!) to determine the circumstances of the sabotage.”
At a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing earlier on Thursday, Blinken was asked whether he could “assure the world that no agency of the US government blew up those pipelines or facilitated that,” saying “Yes, I can” without elaboration. He previously maintained that sabotage of the Nord Stream would be “in no one's interest,” and has accused Moscow of “outrageous misinformation” on the issue.
The Russian embassy went on to point out “public threats” from American officials to “bring an end” to the gas lines – among them President Joe Biden himself – also noting prior “remarks concerning the unacceptance of mutually beneficial energy ties between the Russian Federation and Europe.” Given Washington’s opposition to an independent probe, it asked whether US officials have “something to hide.”
“We consistently and persistently call for the launch of an impartial and transparent international investigation into the attacks against the Nord Stream pipelines. However, the United States, along with a narrow group of like-minded states, vehemently oppose such efforts,” it added.
Comprised of two separate pipeline strings which run through the Baltic Sea, the pipelines are intended to carry natural gas from Russia into Germany and are majority-owned by Gazprom, Moscow’s state-run energy firm. They were attacked in a series of bombings last September, rendering them inoperable.
Russian officials have repeatedly pressed for an international investigation into the incidents, though to date the results of local probes in Europe have been largely kept under wraps.