Moscow dismissed accusations that it was behind the alleged Tuesday sabotage of Nord Stream energy pipelines as “stupid and absurd” Wednesday.
Accusations have flown after three unprecedented leaks sprang from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea on Monday. Germany, the U.S. and Russia have all agreed that sabotage is a likely or possible cause for the leaks, but Ukraine has outright accused Moscow of carrying out the deed.
“Gas leak from NS-1 [Nord Stream 1] is nothing more than a terrorist attack planned by Russia and an act of aggression towards the EU. Russia wants to destabilise the economic situation in Europe and cause pre-winter panic,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak tweeted Tuesday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov brushed the accusation aside as stupid during a Wednesday press conference.
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“It’s quite predictable and also predictably stupid to give voice to these kinds of narratives — predictably stupid and absurd,” Peskov said. “This is a big problem for us because, firstly, both lines of Nord Stream 2 are filled with gas — the entire system is ready to pump gas and the gas is very expensive … Now the gas is flying off into the air.”
“Are we interested in that? No, we are not, we have lost a route for gas supplies to Europe,” he continued.
Germany and Denmark have argued that sabotage is by far the most likely scenario. Seismologists reordered underwater explosions just prior to the leaks on Monday.
“We can’t imagine a scenario that isn’t a targeted attack. Everything speaks against a coincidence,” a government official reportedly told German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.
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Secretary of State Tony Blinken stated that sabotaging the pipelines was in “no one’s interest” Tuesday. The White House National Security Council also stated that the U.S. would not “speculate on the cause.”
Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen sympathized with Germany’s suspicions telling reporters that a cause other than sabotage would be “difficult to imagine,” according to Insider.
Swedish and Danish repair teams will not be able to fix the leaks for at least a week, they say.
Neither of the pipelines was operating at the time of the damage, however. Nord Stream 1 had been operating at just 20% capacity since July and stopped service entirely at the end of August. Operators stated that international sanctions against Russia had made maintenance impossible.
Nord Stream 2, meanwhile, has never entered official operation as Germany declined to certify its completion last year. The project was stopped altogether just days ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
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