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Russia denounces UK for 'directing, coordinating' Nord Stream pipeline explosions

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Russia has once again accused the United Kingdom of 'directing and coordinating' explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines on the floor of the Baltic Sea in late September.

Three huge gas leaks, preceded by a series of explosions, occurred on the Baltic Sea's Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines on September 26. The blasts, according to Moscow, knocked out three of the four strings of the Nord Stream network off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm.

Built to carry Russian gas to Germany, the 1,200-kilometer pipelines, operated by Russian gas giant Gazprom, are not currently in operation, but they both still contain gas under pressure.

The preliminary results of a Sweden-Denmark probe showed that the blasts had been "intentional sabotage." On October 29, Russia's Defense Ministry said that "British specialists" blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines in a "terrorist attack," prompting London to reject the charges as an "invented story."

Previously, Moscow had blamed the West for the damage to the infrastructure.

On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated the allegation, saying that London had been behind the blasts.

"Our intelligence services have data indicating that British military specialists were directing and coordinating the attack," he said at a press conference, stressing, "There is evidence that Britain is involved in sabotage, in a terrorist attack on vital energy infrastructure, not Russian, but international."

Unlike Nord Stream 1, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has never brought natural gas to Europe because Germany prevented the flows from ever starting just before Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine on February 24, which drew unprecedented waves of sanctions by the United States and its European allies against Moscow.

Gazprom progressively reduced the volumes of gas being delivered via Nord Stream 1 until it shut the pipeline completely at the end of August, blaming Western sanctions for the delay of necessary repairs to the pipeline.

Peskov did not provide any details regarding the alleged involvement of the UK in the explosions but insisted that the West should "carefully" analyze Moscow's information.

"We expect that despite the unacceptable silence of the European countries, this analysis will nevertheless be carried out," he said, adding that Russia would also consider further steps.

Moscow to take 'further steps'

Peskov said that Moscow was deciding about what "further steps" to take. "Such actions cannot be put aside. Of course, we will think about further steps. It definitely cannot be left like this," he said.

He said no decision had been made on whether to repair the pipelines, adding that the Kremlin was awaiting an expert assessment of the damage.

Separately on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova urged former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss to explain a purported iPhone message, bearing the text "It’s done," allegedly sent to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken immediately after the blasts.

"Honestly, I don't care who and how (they) got this information. I am interested in London's response to the following question: did Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss send a message to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken right after the explosion at Nord Stream gas pipeline with the words 'It's done?'" Zakharova asked in a Telegram post.

The alleged message was among other information purportedly leaked from Truss' cell phone following a hack reported by the British edition of the Daily Mail.

Earlier, internet entrepreneur and free speech activist Kim Schmitz, also known as Kim Dotcom, tweeted that Truss had sent Blinken the message "It's done" a minute after Nord Stream explosions, which prevented Europe from receiving up to 110 billion cubic meters worth of natural gas.

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