Russia says UK navy blew up Nord Stream, London denies involvement

  • Russia says British naval personnel blew up the pipelines.
  • Russia says British naval personnel helped attack Crimea.
  • Russia does not provide evidence for the claim
  • Britain has denied the Russian claims.
  • Russia says it will seek UN attention.

LONDON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Russia’s defense ministry said on Saturday British naval personnel blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month, a claim London says was false and in Ukraine. was designed to divert attention from Russian military failures.

Russia has not provided evidence for its claim that a leading NATO member sabotaged key Russian infrastructure amid the worst crisis in relations between the West and Russia since the depths of the Cold War.

The Russian ministry said “British specialists” from the same unit directed Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian Black Sea Fleet ships in Crimea earlier on Saturday, which Russian forces largely repelled. , in which a Russian minesweeper was slightly damaged.

“According to available information, representatives of this unit of the British Navy participated in the planning, provision and execution of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on September 26 of this year – the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines. Blow up,” said the ministry.

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Britain denied the claim.

“To cover up their disastrous handling of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defense is resorting to false claims on an epic scale,” the British Ministry of Defense said.

“This invented story says more about the arguments within the Russian government than it does about the West.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow would seek a response from the UN Security Council, and on social media Moscow wanted to draw attention to “a series of terrorist attacks against the Russian Federation in the Black Sea and the Baltics.” , including the United Kingdom’s involvement in them”.

Russia, which has been largely isolated by the West since its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, has previously blamed the West for explosions that set off the Russian-built Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 on the Baltic Sea bed. Pipelines burst.

But he had not previously given specific details about who he believed was responsible for the damage to the pipelines, which were previously the main routes for Russian gas supplies to Europe.

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On September 26, a sharp drop in pressure was recorded on both pipelines and seismologists detected explosions, prompting speculation of sabotage of one of Russia’s most important energy corridors.

Reuters could not immediately confirm any conflicting claims about who was responsible for the damage.

A gas leak at Nord Stream 2 as seen from a Danish F-16 interceptor on September 27, 2022 in Bornholm, Denmark.

The Pipeline Mystery

Both Sweden and Denmark have concluded that the four leaks on Nord Stream 1 and 2 were caused by explosions, but have not said who might be responsible. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the loss an act of sabotage.

The prosecutor in charge of the case said in a statement on Friday that Sweden had ordered further investigations into the damage to the pipelines.

The Kremlin has repeatedly said accusations of Russian responsibility for the damage are “absurd” and Russian officials have said Washington had a motive because it wants to sell more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe.

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The US has denied involvement.

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 exports.

Sections of the 1,224 km (760 mi) long pipelines running from Russia to Germany lie at a depth of about 80-110 meters.

Black Sea Fleet

Meanwhile, Russia said Ukrainian forces attacked ships from the Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol, the largest city in Russian-held Crimea, early Saturday morning.

“The attack involved nine unmanned aerial vehicles and seven autonomous maritime drones,” the defense ministry said.

“The preparation of this terrorist act and the training of personnel of the 73rd Special Center for Naval Operations of Ukraine was carried out under the guidance of British experts based in the town of Ochakiv.”

The ministry said all the aerial drones were destroyed, although the minesweeper Ivan Golobits was slightly damaged. Sevastopol is the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Reporting by Reuters Editing by Guy Falconbridge and Frances Carey

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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