Biden Accuses Putin of Lying About U.S. Sabotage of Nord Stream
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday accused the West of sabotaging Russia-built natural gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea to Germany, a charge vehemently denied by the United States and its allies.
Nordic nations said the undersea blasts that damaged the pipelines this week and have led to huge methane leaks involved several hundred pounds of explosives.
The U.S.-Russia clashes continued later at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in New York called by Russia on the attacks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, and as Norwegian researchers published a map projecting that a huge plume of methane from the damaged pipelines will travel over large swaths of the Nordic region.
Speaking Friday in Moscow at a ceremony to annex four regions of Ukraine into Russia, Putin claimed that “Anglo-Saxons” in the West have turned from imposing sanctions on Russia to “terror attacks,” sabotaging the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in what he described as an attempt to “destroy the European energy infrastructure.”
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In Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden dismissed Putin’s pipeline claims as outlandish.
“It was a deliberate act of sabotage, and now the Russians are pumping out disinformation and lies,” Biden said.
The president finally made a statement in reaction to the pipeline after repeatedly ignoring reporters’ questions about it on Thursday.
Putin said Friday that the United States and its allies in the West sabotaged the pipeline.
“The sanctions were not enough for the Anglo-Saxons: they moved onto sabotage,” Putin said. “It is hard to believe but it is a fact that they organized the blasts on the Nord Stream international gas pipeline.”
What has happened to this interesting tweet by @radeksikorski , former Polish Foreign Minister, now Euro MP and married to influential journalist @anneapplebaum? It seems to have been deleted. pic.twitter.com/vEZHhZX9gE
— Peter Hitchens (@ClarkeMicah) September 29, 2022
U.S. officials said the Putin claim was trying to shift attention from his annexation Friday of parts of Ukraine.
“We’re not going to let Russia’s disinformation distract us or the world from its transparently fraudulent attempt to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said Friday.
At the United Nations, Sergey Kupriyanov, spokesman for the Russian state-owned company Gazprom, which is the majority stakeholder in Nord Stream, told the council that data regarding the sudden drop in pressure in the pipeline and the gas leakage “make it possible to say with certainty that the leaks in the pipelines was caused by physical damage.”
Kupriyanov said in a video briefing that Gazprom has begun searching for possible solutions to make the Nord Stream system operational again. There is no estimate of how long it will take, he said, “but we can say with certainty that the task will be very daunting from a technical standpoint.”
Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, made a host of allegations implicating the United States in sabotage, including that it would benefit the U.S. gas industry. He then asked if the U.S. representative would not engage in “morbid fantasies about Russia and confirm that the United States “is not involved and has nothing to do with this sabotage?”
U.S. deputy ambassador Richard Mills accused Nebenzia of spreading “conspiracy theories and disinformation” and using “inflammatory rhetoric.”
“Let me answer his question. Let me be clear: The United States categorically denies any involvement in this incident, and we reject any assertions saying the contrary,” Mills said.
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) September 28, 2022
Moscow says it wants a thorough international probe to assess the damage to the pipelines, which were filled with gas but not supplying it to Europe. Putin’s spokesman has said “it looks like a terror attack, probably conducted on a state level.”
Header featured image (edited) credit: Biden/CNN screen shot
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