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Putin speaks of Nord Stream explosions at Russian Energy Week — hinting at guilty parties
Explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines are a “most dangerous precedent” and “an act of international terrorism,” said President Vladimir Putin during the Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow, as reported by the Interfax.
On the night of September 26, leaks were found on three strands of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines. Gas was leaking into the Baltic near the Danish island of Bornholm. The Swedish police established that the pipelines had been damaged by explosions.
At the forum, Putin speculated that the incident could have been organized by someone who is “technically capable” and already “resorted to sabotage, was caught red-handed, but remained unpunished.” “Highly likely,” he said in English. “It’s clear who stands behind this.” But he did not clarify any more.
It’s possible that he may have been referring to a recent statement by Gazprom — whose spokesman reminded that a NATO underwater mine disposal vehicle was discovered near Nord Stream in 2015. In reality, this was a Swedish mine-clearance vehicle, probably lost there during an exercise the year before. At the time, the Swedish authorities stressed that it posed no danger to the pipeline. The story had been covered by RIA Novosti, as well as others.
At a different point of his talk, Putin noted that the biggest beneficiaries of the Nord Stream incidents were Ukraine and Poland (thanks to the remaining pipeline segments that deliver Russian gas to Europe across their territories). The United States, too, stands to gain, according to Putin, since it “can now supply energy resources at high prices.”
Earlier, Putin spoke of the Nord Stream blasts as the work of “the Anglo-Saxons.”
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian authorities and some European politicians attribute the explosions to Russia. They think that the Kremlin may have tried to sow panic in Europe just before the heating season’s start.
The explosions took place in the Swedish economic zone. Sweden’s authorities declined to share the results of their investigation with Russia.
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