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Published: 19:11, February 09, 2023 | Updated: 21:11, February 09, 2023
Kremlin says those behind Nord Stream blasts must be punished
By Reuters
Published:19:11, February 09, 2023 Updated:21:11, February 09, 2023 By Reuters

This handout picture released on Sept 27, 2022 by the Danish Defence Command shows the gas leak at the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as it is seen from the Danish Defence's F-16 rejection response off the Danish Baltic island of Bornholm, south of Dueodde. (PHOTO / DANISH DEFENCE  COMMAND/ AFP)

MOSCOW - The Kremlin said on Thursday the world should know the truth about who sabotaged the Nord Stream gas pipelines and that those responsible should be punished after an investigative journalist said US divers blew them up at the behest of the White House.

A sharp drop in pressure on both pipelines was registered on Sept 26 and seismologists detected explosions, triggering a wave of speculation about sabotage to one of Russia's most important energy corridors.

In a blog post, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh cited an unidentified source as saying that US navy divers had destroyed the pipelines with explosives on the orders of President Joe Biden.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Hersh's blog post deserved more attention and that he was surprised it had not been covered more fully by Western media

Reuters was unable to corroborate the allegations. The White House dismissed them as "utterly false and complete fiction".

ALSO READ: 'EU not conducting proper probe of Nord Stream blasts'

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Hersh's blog post deserved more attention and that he was surprised it had not been covered more fully by Western media.

"The world must find out the truth about who carried out this act of sabotage," Peskov told reporters. "This is a very dangerous precedent: if someone did it once, they can do it again anywhere in the world."

"The appearance of such materials once again shows the need for an open international investigation of this unprecedented attack on international critical infrastructure," he said, adding the perpetrators should be punished.

Peskov struck a note of caution about treating a blog as a primary source but said it was unfair to ignore such an article.

ALSO READ: Sweden: Traces of explosives found at Nord Stream pipelines

"Some points can be disputed, some points need proof, but the article is certainly remarkable for the depth of analysis, the harmony of presentation... and so it would be unfair to ignore it."

Russia has repeatedly said the West was behind the blasts affecting the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines last September - multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects that carried Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

President Vladimir Putin has accused "Anglo-Saxon" powers of blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines, a Kremlin-designed project to circumvent Ukraine in exporting its gas directly to Germany and further to Europe.

Pipeline mystery

Investigators from Sweden and Denmark - in whose exclusive economic zones the explosions occurred - have said the ruptures were a result of sabotage, but have not said who they believe was responsible.

In his blog post, titled "How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline", Hersh said a plan was hatched in 2021 at the highest levels of the United States to destroy the pipelines.

According to the report, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) working group came up with a covert operation plan to put explosives on the pipelines.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier this month that Washington was directly involved in the sabotage of the pipelines.

READ MORE: Danish police: Explosions caused Nord Stream gas leaks

Russian officials and politicians have lined up to demand answers since the blog appeared.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday there would be "consequences" for the United States, adding the report was not a surprise for Russia.

Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the Russian State Duma, or lower house of parliament, said the report should become the basis for an international investigation for "bringing Biden and his accomplices to justice".

The United States should pay "compensation to countries affected by the terrorist attack", Volodin added.

Russia's foreign ministry said on Wednesday the United States had questions to answer over its role in explosions on the undersea Nord Stream gas pipelines last year.

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