March 5. 2024. 1:10

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Russia fails at UN to get Nord Stream blast inquiry


Russia failed on Monday (27 March) to get the UN Security Council to ask for an independent inquiry into explosions in September on the Nord Stream gas pipelines connecting Russia and Germany that spewed gas into the Baltic Sea.

Only Russia, China and Brazil voted in favor of the Russian-drafted text, while the remaining 12 council members abstained. A resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, France, the United States or Britain to pass.

Russia proposed the draft resolution last month, just days before the first anniversary of its invasion of Ukraine.

“Without an objective and transparent international investigation the truth will not be uncovered as to what happened,” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the council before the vote.

The pipeline blasts occurred in the exclusive economic zones of Sweden and Denmark. Last month Sweden, Denmark and Germany said that their own separate investigations by national authorities were still ongoing and Russia has been informed.

They said in a joint letter to the Security Council that the damage was caused by “powerful explosions due to sabotage.” The United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have also called the incident “an act of sabotage.”

Most of the Security Council members who abstained on Monday said they did so because the national investigations should be allowed to conclude before considering whether any action at the United Nations was needed.

Russia has complained that it has not been kept informed about the ongoing national investigations. Moscow has maintained, without providing evidence, that the West was behind the blasts.

“The United States was not involved in any way. Period,” said deputy US ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, accusing Russia of trying to “discredit the work of ongoing national investigations and prejudice any conclusions they reach that do not comport to Russia’s predetermined and political narrative.”

Compensations?

Moscow may seek compensation for the damage to the Nord Stream gas pipelines, although the future of the projects is unclear, according to a Russian diplomat cited by the news agency RIA Novosti.

The Kremlin has said it is for all shareholders to decide whether the two pipelines, each consisting of two pipes, should be mothballed.

Russia set to mothball damaged Nord Stream gas pipelines

Russia’s ruptured undersea Nord Stream gas pipelines are set to be sealed up and mothballed as there are no immediate plans to repair or reactivate them, sources familiar with the plans have told Reuters.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would establish who was behind the blasts before claiming any compensation.

Sources familiar with the plans told Reuters last week that the pipelines, built by Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom, would be sealed up and mothballed as there were no immediate plans to repair or reactivate them.

Nord Stream 1 opened in November 2011, having cost €7.4 billion ($8 billion). Construction of the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 was completed in September 2021, but it never came onstream before Germany froze the project as Russia was about to send troops into Ukraine in February 2022.

Unidentified object

The Kremlin on Friday said it was important to identify an object discovered next to one of the Nord Stream pipelines, and said the ongoing investigation into blasts that struck the pipelines last September must be conducted with full transparency.

Last week, Danish authorities said a tubular object, protruding around 40 cm from the seabed and 10 cm in diameter, had been found during an inspection of the last remaining intact Nord Stream pipeline by its operator, Nord Stream 2 AG.

The Danish Energy Agency invites Swiss-based Nord Stream 2 to participate in an operation to lift an unknown object found next to the damaged gas link in the Baltic Sea https://t.co/02etxsbEJt

— Bloomberg (@business) March 24, 2023

Peskov told reporters it was a positive sign that Denmark had invited the Russian-controlled operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to help salvage the unidentified object

“It is critically important to determine what kind of object it is, whether it is related to this terrorist act – apparently it is – and to continue this investigation. And this investigation must be transparent,” Peskov added.