New Delhi: Russia on Tuesday (February 21) called for a United Nations investigation into the US’s ‘sabotage’ of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines from Russia to Western Europe.
Explosions destroyed the Nord Stream undersea natural gas pipelines in September last year. Renowned American journalist Seymour Hersh recently published an article holding US President Joe Biden and the CIA responsible. The US government has dismissed this report as “utterly false and complete fiction”.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, according to AP, told the UN Security Council that Moscow does not think the separate investigations being carried out by Denmark, Sweden and Germany are trustworthy. However, it would “fully trust” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to establish an independent international investigation into the explosions.
Russia had circulated a draft resolution with the same demand to council members late last week.
Nebenzia continued that Russia has not been allowed to join any of these investigations, which “are not only not transparent, but it is quite clear that they seek just to cover the tracks and stick up for their…American brother”.
In order to drive home the point that Hersh’s reports were based on facts, Russia argued that the US had several times threatened to destroy the Nord Stream pipeline.
The US, UK, France and others rejected Russia’s statements, saying probes into the explosions were ongoing and Russia was simply trying to take attention away from the one-year anniversary of the Ukraine war. “Today’s meeting is a blatant attempt to distract from this,” US minister-counselor John Kelley said. “As the world unites this week to call for a just and secure peace in Ukraine consistent with the UN Charter, Russia desperately wants to change the subject.”
The only country to support Russia’s call for a UN investigation was China.
“A simple statement of utterly false and complete fiction is obviously not enough to answer the many questions and concerns raised around the world,” China’s UN ambassador Zhang Jun said, referring to the White House’s denial.
The request for an independent investigation “is entirely legitimate and reasonable”, he continued, according to the Washington Post.
The explosions in September last year had caused gas leakages harmful to the environment.
The investigations conducted by Denmark, Sweden and Germany are still underway. The ambassadors of three countries recently told council members in a letter that the pipelines were extensively damaged “by powerful explosions due to sabotage”.
“These investigations have not yet been concluded,” the letter said, according to Washington Post, and “at this point, it is not possible to say when they will be concluded.”