British naval ‘specialists’ sabotaged critical gas pipelines last month, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, but the UK says Moscow is ‘making up stories’.
Last month, British navy personnel planted explosives and blew up Nord Stream gas pipelines, the Russian Defense Ministry said, a claim London has dismissed as false and designed to distract from military failures of Moscow in Ukraine.
Russia has not provided evidence for its allegation that a leading NATO member sabotaged critical Russian infrastructure amid the worst crisis in relations between the West and Moscow since the depths of the Cold War.
The Russian ministry has alleged that “British specialists” from the same unit who led Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian Black Sea Fleet ships in Crimea earlier on Saturday were responsible for the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline.
“According to available information, representatives of this British Navy unit were involved in the planning, supply and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on September 26 this year – blowing up the North Gas Pipelines Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2,” the ministry said.
The UK has denied the charge.
“To distract from their disastrous handling of the unlawful invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defense is resorting to false allegations of epic proportions,” the UK Ministry of Defense said.
“This fabricated story says more about the ongoing arguments within the Russian government than it does about the West.”
“Series of Terrorist Attacks”
Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said Moscow would seek a reaction from the United Nations Security Council, saying on social media that it wanted to draw attention to “a series of terrorist attacks terrorists committed against the Russian Federation in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea”. , including Britain’s involvement in them”.
Russia, deeply isolated by Western nations since its February 24 invasion of Ukraine, has previously blamed the West for explosions that ruptured the Russian-built Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines on the bed of the Baltic sea.
But he had yet to give specific details about who he believed was responsible for the damage to the pipelines, previously the biggest Russian gas supply routes to Europe.
A sharp drop in pressure on both pipelines was recorded on September 26 and seismologists detected explosions, sparking a wave of speculation that one of Russia’s most important energy corridors had been sabotaged.
Sweden and Denmark concluded that four leaks on Nord Stream 1 and 2 were caused by explosions, but did not say who might be responsible. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the damage an act of sabotage.
Sweden has ordered further investigations into the damage, the prosecutor handling the case said in a statement on Friday.
The Kremlin has repeatedly said allegations of Russian responsibility for the blasts are “stupid,” and Russian officials have said Washington had a motive because it wanted to sell more liquefied natural gas to Europe.
The United States has denied any involvement.
Russia has said Western countries have not allowed it to participate in international investigations into the blasts. Instead, he implied for weeks that his security services had a different version of what caused the explosions.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has expressed skepticism over the Russian accusations. “An investigation is ongoing and I don’t give any credence to what was said this morning,” she told reporters.
The Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines have a combined annual capacity of 110 billion cubic meters, more than half of Russia’s normal gas export volume.
Sections of the 1,224 km (760 miles) long pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, lie at a depth of around 80 to 110 meters (262 to 361 feet).