Russia tells EU to treat US as pipeline sabotage suspect
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has asked who the EU intends to punish with the “strongest possible response” for damage to the Nord Stream gas pipelines.
The diplomat said Poland's former foreign minister has already identified the US as the party behind the apparent sabotage. Radoslaw Sikorski is well connected to Washington elites through his employment at various think tanks.
The two Nord Stream pipelines were seriously damaged this week in what is suspected to have been a deliberate attack.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday called the incident “sabotage action” and warned that “any deliberate disruption of active European energy infrastructure is unacceptable and will lead to the strongest possible response.”
On Wednesday, Zakharova asked who exactly the warning would apply to.
“I don’t get it. MEP Sikorski thanked the US for what had happened, so whom is Ursula ‘threatening’ there?” she wrote on social media.
Zakharova was referring to the reaction to the incident by Sikorski, now an EU lawmaker, who posted a photo of the site where the explosions occurred on Twitter with the words: “Thank you, USA.” He described the incident as a “special maintenance operation.”
Sikorski added that “there’s no shortage of pipeline capacity for taking gas from Russia to Western Europe, including Germany,” referring to the Yamal-Europe land pipeline that goes through Belarus and Poland. After the damage to the Nord Stream strings, Russian President Vladimir Putin “will have to talk to countries controlling” the alternative route to resume supplies, he predicted.
Zakharova earlier asked if Sikorski’s tweets amounted to an “official statement that this was a terrorist attack.” Meanwhile, Dmitry Polyanskiy, the Russian deputy ambassador to the UN, thanked Sikorski for “making it crystal clear who stands behind this terrorist-style targeting of civilian infrastructure!”
There has been no shortage of threats from some Western nations against Russian undersea pipelines, particularly the Nord Stream 2 both before and after late February, when Moscow sent troops into Ukraine. It had been ready to pump gas since September last year, but was not put into operation due to Germany’s refusal to certify it. Polish President Andrzej Duda demanded last month that the pipeline be “totally scrapped.”
US President Joe Biden warned in early February, before Russia began its military operation in Ukraine, that if Moscow acts against Kiev, “there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.” A journalist asked him to clarify what exactly he meant, to which Biden responded: “I promise you, we will be able to do that.”
Pres. Biden: "If Russia invades...then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it."Reporter: "But how will you do that, exactly, since...the project is in Germany's control?"Biden: "I promise you, we will be able to do that." https://t.co/uruQ4F4zM9pic.twitter.com/4ksDaaU0YC— ABC News (@ABC) February 7, 2022
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken commented on the incident on Tuesday, stating that attacking Russian pipelines was “in no one’s interest.”