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Russia security chief: US, UK sowing deception over Nord Stream blasts

Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia's Security Council

Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia's Security Council, says the United States and the United Kingdom are sowing deception over bomb attacks against the Nord Stream gas pipelines last year.

Back on September 26, 2022, 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.

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 was not yet operational.

Earlier this month, the New York Times, in an exclusive report, said US officials "believed the saboteurs were most likely Ukrainian or Russian nationals, or some combination of the two." It did not identify the source of the intelligence and the suspected group involved.

In an interview with the Russian newspaper Argumenti i Fakti published on Monday, Patrushev cast doubt on the Times report, questioning the notion that such a group would be capable of conducting the daring task of planting explosives under the multibillion-dollar Russian infrastructure, Moscow's most important energy corridor to Europe.

"In an attempt to cover up the true people behind the crime, pro-government Anglo-Saxon media - on orders from above - have named a culprit - a group of Ukrainian terrorists," he said.

"In essence, they once again pointed to the terrorist nature of the current Kiev regime. At the same time, the authors of the information campaign thought that no one would object to this version," Patrushev added.

Patrushev said Russia still did not know for certain who was behind the attacks because Moscow had not been included in an investigation into the blasts. "If newspapers claim with zeal that the sabotage was committed by a group of Ukrainian terrorists, then it is necessary to ask whether or not there is indeed such a group at all, and if it is capable of carrying this out."

According to the Times report, the intelligence suggested the culprits behind the sabotage were "opponents of President Vladimir Putin of Russia," which launched a "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 22, 2022.

Following the blasts, Denmark, Germany, and Sweden conducted investigations, with all three countries having barred Russia from participating in the probes.

The preliminary results of a joint probe by Sweden and Denmark showed the blasts had been "intentional sabotage," but the responsibility was not assigned to any party. Moscow has been blaming the West ever since the explosions.

Last month, veteran American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, in a detailed report published on his blog, claimed the bombing had been directly ordered by US President Joe Biden and carried out by the CIA with the help of the US Navy.

The White House swiftly rejected the report as "utterly false and complete fiction." The CIA and the US State Department also dismissed the report.

The Times report said US officials believed "no American or British nationals were involved."

However, Patrushev said both the United States and Britain have the capabilities to blow up such a pipeline. Washington and London have dismissed the claim.

Other NATO member states also use combat swimmers for sabotage tasks but only "with the consent and support of the country that determines the main agenda for NATO," he added.

Patrushev said only thorough an impartial investigation based on evidence the controversy about the incident can end. He said “declarations of subjective one-sided versions explain nothing.”

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