Putin hints at culprits behind Nord Stream sabotage
Those who benefit the most from the damage caused to the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea are the ones responsible for it, Russian President Vladmir Putin has said.
“Everybody understands who is behind this and who is the beneficiary. One can now force the liquefied natural gas from the US on to European countries on a much larger scale,” Putin said in a speech at the Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow on Wednesday.
The president pointed out that US liquefied natural gas (LNG) is “definitely less competitive than Russian pipeline gas” due its higher price.
Regarding the explosions on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, Putin said: “all the facts have been proven and documented. And the ideologues and the sponsors of those crimes are their eventual beneficiaries; those, who profit from instability and conflict.”
“Who stands behind the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines? Obviously, those who are looking to completely sever the ties between Russia and the EU, undermine Europe's political sovereignty, weaken its industrial capacity and gain control of its markets,” the president said.
They are also those who “have the technical capacity to carry out such explosions and have already resorted to such sabotage - were caught red-handed while doing so, but avoided liability,” he added.
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which were built to deliver Russian gas to the EU via Germany, abruptly lost pressure on September 26, following a series of powerful underwater explosions off the Danish island of Bornholm. The ruptures, which are widely considered to be the result of sabotage, led to massive gas leaks and made them inoperable. Moscow later said that one of the lines of Nord Stream 2 remained unaffected and offered to supply gas to Europe through it.
The Western media has speculated that Russia could have blown up its own pipelines to put the EU under even more pressure amid the energy crisis. Moscow has denied such claims, with Putin saying earlier that “the Anglo-Saxons,” a colloquialism for the US-UK alliance, could have been behind what the Russian side described as an “act of international terrorism.”
Shortly after the leaks were found, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed the incident as a “tremendous opportunity” for Europe “to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy.”
In late September, Russian Security Council secretary Nikolay Patrushev said Moscow had obtained “certain materials, which point to a Western trace in organizing and executing” the blasts on the Nord Stream pipelines. He argued that the US was the primary beneficiary of the disruption, and cited the CIA-backed attack on Nicaragua’s oil infrastructure in the 1980s as a historic example of America’s involvement in such types of sabotage.