March 4. 2024. 10:28

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Ukraine war: Kremlin calls Nord Stream reports a distraction

Media reports on the September 2022 attack on Nord Stream pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe are a co-ordinated effort to divert attention, the Kremlin has said.

Satellite images of the Baltic Sea show gas leaks from three of the four pipelines after it was attacked, in what the US and Nato have called “an act of sabotage”.

Spokesman for the Kremlin Dmitry Peskov told the state RIA news agency on Wednesday: “Obviously, the authors of the attack want to divert attention. Obviously, this is a co-ordinated stuffing in the media. How can American officials assume anything without an investigation?”

Mr Peskov was responding to a report in the New York Times saying that intelligence reviewed by US officials indicates that a pro-Ukrainian group sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines that carried natural gas from Russia to Europe, but they have found no evidence of Kyiv government involvement in the September 2022 attack.

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Ukraine war: Kremlin calls Nord Stream reports a distraction


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Moscow has blamed Ukraine’s western supporters and has called on the UN security council to independently investigate. Neither side has provided evidence.

Citing US officials, the New York Times said there was no evidence that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy or his top aides were involved in the operation or that the perpetrators were acting at the behest of any Ukrainian government officials.

White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday that Washington was waiting for ongoing investigations in Germany, Sweden and Denmark – all in the Baltic region – to conclude, “and only then should we be looking at what follow-on actions might or may not be appropriate”.

Responding to the report, senior Ukrainian adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters the Kyiv government was “absolutely not involved” in the sabotage strike and had no information about what had happened.

The Kremlin’s Mr Peskov also said that Nord Stream shareholder countries should insist on an urgent, transparent investigation. “We are still not allowed in the investigation. Only a few days ago we received notes about this from the Danes and Swedes. This is not just strange, it smells like a monstrous crime.”

Meanwhile, European Union Commission president Ursula von der Leyen says Europe will never accept Russian threats to its security.

Addressing Canada’s parliament on Tuesday during a visit to bolster support for Ukraine, she said, “We will never accept that a military power with fantasies of empire rolls its tanks across an international border”. Europe “will never accept this threat to European security and to the very foundation of our international community”, she said.

On the battlefield, Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed on Wednesday his group of mercenaries has taken full control of the eastern part of the city of Bakhmut.

On Tuesday, Mr Zelenskiy warned in an interview with CNN that it would be an “open road” for Russian troops to capture cities in Ukraine should they seize control of Bakhmut.

The battle for Bakhmut has been the deadliest of the war and has caused tens of thousands of people to flee. The city in the Donbas region had an estimated pre-war population of about 70,000. The Ukrainian deputy prime minister said on Tuesday that fewer than 4,000 civilians, including 38 children, remained in Bakhmut.