HomeWorldRussian spy chief: West was behind sabotage of Nord Stream

Russian spy chief: West was behind sabotage of Nord Stream

  • Spy chief: West was involved
  • Spy chief: West tries to cover up
  • Putin: This was an act of international terrorism

TBILISI/LONDON, Sept. 30 (Reuters) – Russia’s top spy said on Friday that Moscow had information indicating that the West was behind an “act of terrorism” against the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea.

On September 26, a sharp drop in pressure was recorded on both pipelines and seismologists detected explosions, sparking a wave of speculation about who might have sabotaged one of Russia’s major energy corridors.

The European Union said it suspected sabotage could damage the Gazprom-led (GAZP.MM) Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in Swedish and Danish waters. The White House has rejected Russian allegations that it was behind the incidents.

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“We have material that points to a Western track in the organization and execution of these terrorist acts,” Sergei Naryshkin, the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), told reporters on state television.

The spy chief’s comments are the most direct public accusation against the West by a senior Russian official. He did not say what evidence Russia had, but said the West was trying to cover up who carried out the attack.

“The West is doing everything it can to hide the true perpetrators and organizers of this international terrorist act,” Naryshkin said. The SVR is the direct successor to the once mighty first Soviet-era KGB Chief Directorate.

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the “unprecedented sabotage” against the Nord Stream gas pipelines was “an act of international terrorism”. read more

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The Kremlin declined to comment on Naryshkin’s comments, but said a thorough international investigation into the incidents was needed.

Sweden’s energy minister said on Friday that it is “highly likely” that the attack on the pipelines was deliberately done by a state actor.

Since the breaches were first discovered earlier this week, officials in Moscow have hinted that the US-led West could be behind the attack. On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Washington would benefit from the pipeline disruption.

Nord Stream 1 or 2 were not in operation when the fractures were discovered Monday, but both contained gas. Nord Stream AG, the operator of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, said it expected the gas leak to stop on Monday, but was unable to reach the area to assess the damage.

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Reporting by Reuters; edit by Guy Faulconbridge

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