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21 Feb, 2023 22:16

Evidence of US guilt for Nord Stream ‘more than a smoking gun’ – Russia

Blocking a UN probe would make the West look even more suspicious, Moscow’s ambassador told the Security Council
Evidence of US guilt for Nord Stream ‘more than a smoking gun’ – Russia

The destruction of Nord Stream pipelines was an act of international terrorism and needs to be addressed to avoid “chaos” on the high seas, Moscow’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday. Russia has accused Germany, Sweden and Denmark of a cover-up to shield the US, and said it would only trust a UN investigation.

The two pipelines carrying Russian natural gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea were damaged by a series of blasts in September 2022. While Moscow has stopped short of openly accusing the US of carrying out the bombing, journalist Seymour Hersh did just that in an article published earlier this month.

Nebenzia referred to Hersh’s article and statements by multiple US officials threatening the pipeline – from president Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, to “godmother of the anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine,” Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland. He also brought up the infamous tweet by former Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski and an alleged text by Liz Truss, the UK prime minister at the time – all suggesting the US and its allies had the motive, as well as means and opportunity, to destroy Nord Stream.

“We’re not going to do ‘highly likely’ here,” said Nebenzia, referring to the British accusations against Russia in the Security Council chamber in 2018. The publicly available evidence is “more than a smoking gun” that Hollywood is so fond of, but all Moscow wants is an independent international investigation into the claims in Hersh’s article, the Russian diplomat added.

The attack on Nord Stream involved explosives and qualifies as international terrorism under a convention signed in 1997, Nebenzia noted. Unless its perpetrators are found and brought to justice, the attack may well usher in an epoch when transnational undersea infrastructure becomes a legitimate target, which would cause “chaos and terrible damage to all of humanity,” he added.

According to Nebenzia, Russia does not trust the investigations currently conducted by Sweden, Denmark and Germany, as they all refused to share their findings or outright ignored Moscow’s inquiries. “It is quite clear,” he said, that they are “covering up for their American big brother.” If Western countries block Russia’s request for a UN investigation, that will “only shore up our suspicion,” he added.

Before Nebenzia addressed the Security Council, former US diplomat Rosemary DiCarlo – currently the under-secretary-general for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs – argued the world body was “not in position to verify or confirm” anything, urging everyone to “show restraint and avoid accusations that could escalate the already heightened tensions in the region.”

The Security Council also heard from professor Jeffrey Sachs and retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who both testified to Hersh’s bona fides. While the US government rejected Hersh’s narrative as false, it “did not offer any information contradicting Hersh’s account, and did not offer any alternative explanation,” said Sachs. He also called Nuland’s comments about Nord Stream “not at all appropriate in the face of international terrorism.”

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