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26 Feb, 2024 14:05

Kremlin comments after another EU state drops Nord Stream probe

Copenhagen must have found “close allies” when searching for the culprits behind the sabotage, a spokesman has suggested
Kremlin comments after another EU state drops Nord Stream probe

The Danish decision to end its investigation into the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea was probably motivated by Copenhagen’s unwillingness to establish the truth about the crime, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has suggested.

The energy links built to bring Russian natural gas directly to Germany were ruptured by unknown perpetrators in a series of explosions in September 2022. Germany as well as Denmark and Sweden, in whose economic zones the sabotage took place, had each launched separate inquiries. Sweden closed its probe earlier this month.

The Copenhagen Police do not see “sufficient grounds to pursue a criminal case in Denmark” over the incident, they said on Monday in a statement announcing the development. The probe, conducted jointly with the Danish Security and Intelligence Services (PET), was “complex and comprehensive” and resulted in a conclusion that the incident was deliberate sabotage. Nothing was said about possible suspects in the press-release.

The situation is “close to absurd,” Peskov told journalists when asked about the news.

“Apparently, they were getting closer to, as they call it, outing their closest allies,” he suggested. “One can only express absolute astonishment and nothing else.”

Denmark said investigators cooperated with “relevant foreign partners,” but Peskov stressed that Russian law enforcement was not among those.

“In the early stages of the investigation, we consistently asked the Danes for information about what had happened, but the requests were rejected,” he said.

A German government spokesman said Berlin remained very interested in getting to the bottom of the crime.

Western media initially rushed to accuse Russia of disabling its own critical infrastructure. Subsequent reports said European investigators found no evidence to support this theory. Leaks to the press identified a “pro-Ukrainian group” and a specific Ukrainian officer currently held in Kiev’s custody under a separate case as potential culprits.

Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed the finger at the CIA, claiming that the Americans were behind the sabotage, when he discussed Nord Stream with journalist Tucker Carlson in a recent interview. He declined to say what evidence led him to that conclusion.

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh said in February of 2023 that, according to his source, US President Joe Biden personally ordered the bombing of the pipelines. The journalist claimed Biden was seeking to cement Germany’s antagonism towards Russia in the Ukraine conflict and ensure the EU’s long-term reliance on Western energy. The White House denied the allegation, but Putin has said he found Hersh’s reasoning plausible.