Kremlin: Reports on Nord Stream attack ‘coordinated’ effort to divert attention

MOSCOW (Reuters): Media reports on the Nord Stream pipelines attacks are a coordinated effort to divert attention and the Kremlin is perplexed how US officials can assume anything about the attacks without investigation, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.

Intelligence reviewed by US officials indicates that a pro-Ukrainian group sabotaged the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines from Russia to Europe last September, but there was no evidence of Kyiv government involvement, the New York Times earlier reported.

The explosions seven months into the Russia-Ukraine war of underwater pipelines between Russia and Germany occurred in the exclusive economic zones of Sweden and Denmark in the Baltic Sea. Both countries have concluded the blasts were deliberate, but have not said who might be responsible.

“Obviously, the authors of the attack want to divert attention. Obviously, this is a coordinated stuffing in the media,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the state RIA news agency.

“How can American officials assume anything without an investigation?”

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,” Peskov said.

“This is not just strange. It smells like a monstrous crime.”

The United States and NATO have called the pipeline attacks “an act of sabotage,” while Russia has blamed the West and called for an independent investigation. Neither side has provided evidence.

Tuesday’s New York Times report cited US officials as saying there was no evidence that Zelensky or his top aides were involved or that the perpetrators were acting at the behest of any Ukrainian government officials. No specific pro-Ukraine group was named as potentially responsible.

“Without a doubt, Ukraine is absolutely not involved in the excesses on the pipelines,” presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said in a statement. “It does not make the slightest bit of sense.”

Washington was waiting for investigations in Germany, Sweden and Denmark to conclude, White House spokesperson John Kirby said. Reuters could not independently verify the New York Times report.