President Vladimir Putin says a state actor blew up the Nord Stream pipelines and Russia is fighting an existential war with the West
Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed as “nonsense” recent claims that the attack on the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines might have been carried by “pro-Ukrainian activists.” He made the remarks on Tuesday during a visit to an aircraft plant in the capital city of Russia’s Buryatia republic, Ulan-Ude.
“I’m sure this is complete nonsense. An explosion of this kind – of such power, at such depth, can only be carried out by specialists, and supported by the entire power of a state, posessing certain technologies,” Putin told reporters.
Media reports, suggesting that a shadowy “pro-Ukrainian group” might have been behind the blasts on the pipelines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, emerged last week. The New York Times cited anonymous sources saying that “no American or British nationals were involved” in the operation.
Separately, multiple German outlets reported that the country’s investigators probing the blasts had found a yacht, allegedly used for the attack, which belonged to a Polish-based firm but was “apparently owned by two Ukrainians.”
The yacht reports emerged shortly after a bombshell investigation by veteran American journalist Seymour Hersh, who said US President Joe Biden’s administration had staged the attack on the pipelines with assistance from Norway.
According to his sources, the explosives were planted by US Navy divers last June under the guise of a NATO exercise and detonated remotely in September. The White House was quick to dismiss the allegations by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, branding them “utterly false and complete fiction.”
During the visit he also said the ongoing conflict with Ukraine – and the West – is a fight for Russia’s very existence, rather than a mere geopolitical game.
“For our Western so-called ‘partners’ – for, actually, our adversaries, we can say that openly today – the matter is about improving their geopolitical stance,” Putin stated, adding that the situation is very different for Moscow. Destabilisation and “tearing apart” Russia have long been among the top goals of the country’s adversaries, Putin said, urging everyone to show unity amid the ongoing hardships.
“In order to bring peace and stability closer, we, of course, need to show the consolidation of our society, composure. When the enemy sees that our society is strong, internally sound, consolidated, then, without any doubt, what we are striving for will happen: both success and victory,” Putin declared.
Protecting Russians living in Ukraine from persecution by the Kiev regime remains among the top goals of Moscow, Putin reiterated, adding that he has repeatedly met people from Donbass who “are exactly the same as us.” Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow tried to build up solid and mutually beneficial ties with Kiev, but the efforts ultimately flopped, the president admitted.
“Russia has been patiently trying for decades to mend relations with the modern Ukrainian state, but the situation changed in 2014, when a Western-prompted coup d’etat took place,” he said. Even after that, Moscow spent years trying to peacefully resolve the civil conflict in then-Ukrainian Donbass, he concluded.