The Russian government has directly accused the UK of playing a major role in blowing up of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines in September.
Powerful underwater explosions destroyed the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which carry Russian gas 760-miles under the Baltic Sea to Germany. The two pipelines have an annual capacity to provide 110 billion cubic metres of gas, more than 50 percent of Russia’s normal gas export volumes.
On Saturday, a spokesperson for Russia’s defence ministry said, “According to available information, representatives of this unit of the British Navy took part in the planning, provision and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on September 26 this year blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines.”
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From the standpoint of who benefits, the accusation that Britain is responsible, or played a critical role in the bombing of Nord Stream, is far more credible than claims of Russia rendering inoperable tens of billions of dollars’ worth of key infrastructure it has been developing over almost three decades since 1997.
Wsws reports: The explosions destroyed tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure vital to financing Russia’s economy, and powering and heating European industry and households. Russia’s state-owned energy company Gazprom is the main owner of the pipelines. The leaks took place on international waters, but of the four explosions two of them were in the Danish exclusive economic zone and two in the Swedish zone, close to the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm.
Nord Stream 1 had been operating for nearly 11 years, while Nord Stream 2 contained gas but had not yet been brought into commercial operation, owing to pressure by Washington on Germany and other EU powers.
The spokesperson also alleged UK involvement in Saturday’s attacks on Russian ships in the Black Sea. He stated, “At 4.20am today, the Kyiv regime carried out a terrorist attack on Black Sea Fleet ships and civilian vessels.
“Preparation for the terrorist act and training of military personnel of the Ukrainian 73rd Special Operations Centre Marine Unit was carried out under the guidance of British specialists who were in the city of Ochakiv, Mykolaiv region, Ukraine.
“It should be stressed that the Black Sea Fleet vessels that suffered the terrorist attack are involved in ensuring the security of the grain corridor as part of the international initiative to export agricultural products from Ukrainian ports.”
Britain’s Ministry of Defence denied the accusations, saying they were made to distract from Russia’s “disastrous handling of the illegal invasion of Ukraine”.
Russia’s statement comes after weeks of insinuations by Britain and other NATO allies that the blowing up of its own pipeline was an act of sabotage by Russia. The incident has been used to further ramp up hostilities between NATO and Russia, with the activation of NATO’s Article 5 collective defence clause being mooted.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said just days after the explosions that an Article 5 response could not be ruled out, adding, “I’ll reiterate that we have been in touch with our European allies and partners about the apparent sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline. We are supporting European efforts to investigate this.”
Well ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, British ships were involved in major provocations against Russia in the Black Sea. In June 2021, a British warship entered waters claimed by Russia near Crimea, a peninsula in the Black Sea. In response, a Russian border patrol boat fired several warning shots and a Russian fighter jet bombed the path of the British destroyer HMS Defender.