By Jack Phillips
A top Biden administration official said the United States wasn’t involved in the explosions targeting the Russian-owned Nord Stream pipelines last month.
John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, told Fox News that the United States “had nothing to do” with the explosions when asked.
“That’s just Russian propaganda and disinformation,” Kirby said in the Oct. 4 interview. “Now, we know it was an act of sabotage, but there’s an investigation going on right now. I don’t think we’re going to get into credentialing that in terms of who was responsible. We’re going to let the investigators take a look at that. But, clearly, this was an act of sabotage.”
There has been speculation that the United States may have facilitated the attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines because of several public statements made by White House officials. Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the pipeline damage is a “tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy.”
“Again, I can’t speak to specific accountability for this act of sabotage,” Kirby said. “I can just assure you the United States had nothing to do with it, of course. That’s just Russian propaganda.”
U.S. officials haven’t determined who was behind the attack, he noted. No group or nation-state has claimed responsibility, while authorities in Nordic countries said the damage was done by explosions.
“Just look at what Russia has done in the past since the last seven months of this war and when it began and that is to weaponize energy,” Kirby said.
The Kremlin has denied accusations that it sabotaged the pipelines, noting that they contained Russian gas.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said over the weekend that it was technically possible to restore the ruptured offshore infrastructure of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, TASS news agency reported.
A total of four leaks were discovered last week on the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea near Denmark and Sweden, with a significant fall in gas pressure leading to the detection of the ruptures.
“There have never been such incidents. Of course, there are technical possibilities to restore the infrastructure; it takes time and appropriate funds. I am sure that appropriate possibilities will be found,” Novak said.
Denmark’s energy agency said on Oct. 2 that it had been informed by Nord Stream AG that stable pressure had been achieved in Nord Stream 1, once the largest single supply route for Russian gas to Europe, indicating the outflow from the last leaks had halted.
Reuters contributed to this report.