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Russia calls for international probe after Seymour Hersh report on Nord Stream blasts

Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin

Russia has called for an international investigation after a new report by famous American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh alleged that the United States was behind Russian Nord Stream gas pipeline explosions.

In a detailed report published on his blog on Wednesday, Hersh claimed that the bombing of the Nord Stream underwater gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea had been directly ordered by US President Joe Biden and carried out by the CIA with the help of the US Navy.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist alleged that US Navy deep-sea divers planted high-powered C4 explosives under the gas pipelines under the cover of NATO naval exercises, and that the Norwegian military then activated the explosives remotely when they received the relevant order.

Later in the day, the White House rejected the report as "utterly false and complete fiction." The CIA and the US State Department also rejected the report.

On Thursday, Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said the report should become the basis for an international investigation into the explosions.

"The published facts should become the basis for an international investigation, bringing Biden and his accomplices to justice," he said.

Volodin also emphasized that Washington should pay "compensation to countries affected by the terrorist attack."

“If [former US President Harry S.] Truman became a criminal, who used nuclear weapons against civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then Biden became a terrorist, who ordered the destruction of the energy infrastructure of his strategic partners: Germany, France, the Netherlands," the State Duma speaker added.

Volodin said the alleged sabotage of the pipelines by the Americans was "an act of intimidation of its vassals, who decided to develop their economy in the interests of their own citizens."

Separately on Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also reacted to Hersh's report, warning that there would be "consequences" for the US over the sabotage. He further said that the allegations made in the report were "not a surprise" for Moscow as it had been clear from the start who had stood to gain from sabotaging the Russian pipelines.

Two of the pipelines, known collectively as Nord Stream 1, had been providing Germany and much of Western Europe with cheap Russian natural gas for more than a decade. A second pair of pipelines, known as Nord Stream 2, had been built but were not yet operational.

Back on September 26 last year, three huge gas leaks, preceded by a series of explosions, occurred on the pipelines. The powerful 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.

The preliminary results of a Sweden-Denmark probe showed that the blasts had been "intentional sabotage," but no culprit has yet been identified.

Since then, Moscow has blamed the West for the damage to the infrastructure. In late October, Russia's Defense Ministry claimed that "British specialists" blew up the pipelines in a "terrorist attack," prompting London to reject the charges as an "invented story."

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