British navy personnel planted explosives and blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month, Russia’s defence ministry says, a claim London called false and designed to distract from Moscow’s military failures in Ukraine.
Russia did not give evidence for its allegation that a leading NATO member had sabotaged critical Russian infrastructure amid the worst crisis in relations between the West and Moscow since the depths of the Cold War.
The Russian ministry alleged “British specialists” from the same unit that directed Ukrainian drone attacks on ships from the Russian Black Sea fleet in Crimea earlier on Saturday were responsible for the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage.
“According to available information, representatives of this unit of the British Navy took part in the planning, provision and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on September 26 this year – blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines,” the ministry said.
The United Kingdom denied the accusation.
“To detract from their disastrous handling of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Russian ministry of defence is resorting to peddling false claims of an epic scale,” the British defence ministry said.
“This invented story says more about arguments going on inside the Russian government than it does about the West.”
‘Series of terrorist attacks’
Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, said Moscow will seek a reaction from the United Nations Security Council, saying on social media it wanted to draw attention to “a series of terrorist attacks committed against the Russian Federation in the Black and Baltic Seas, including the involvement of Britain in them”.
Russia, deeply isolated by Western nations since its February 24 invasion of Ukraine, has previously blamed the West for the explosions that ruptured the Russian-built Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines on the bed of the Baltic Sea.