Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed as “sheer nonsense” allegations that Ukrainians could be behind the explosions that crippled the Nord Stream gas pipelines, suggesting the United States may have been responsible.
The Russian leader insisted on Tuesday the US had a motive to carry out the attack in the Baltic Sea last year, saying it wanted to halt supplies of cheap Russian natural gas to Europe and provide the continent with more expensive liquefied natural gas.
“Who is interested? Theoretically, the United States is interested in stopping the supply of Russian energy to the European market and supplying volumes of its own,” Putin told an interviewer.
“Such an explosion, so powerful and at such depth, could only be conducted by experts backed by the entire potential of a state that has relevant technologies,” he added.
Putin spoke after The New York Times, The Washington Post, and German media published stories last week citing unidentified American and other officials as saying there was evidence Ukraine – or at least “pro-Ukraine groups” – may have been responsible for the blasts. The Ukrainian government denied involvement.
Germany’s Die Zeit newspaper and German public broadcasters ARD and SWR reported that investigators believe five men and a woman used a yacht hired by a Ukrainian-owned company in Poland to carry out the attack. German federal prosecutors confirmed a boat was searched in January but have not confirmed the reported findings.
The Kremlin last week described the claims about Ukrainian involvement in the explosions as part of a cover-up by the West.
Putin said the blasts were carried out on a “state level” and dismissed as “complete nonsense” suggestions an autonomous pro-Ukraine group was responsible. (AlJazeera)