Moscow: Britain’s Royal Navy played a part in orchestrating and staging the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, the Russian Defence Ministry said on Saturday, the media reported.
The accusation follows the Russian Foreign Ministry’s claim that NATO conducted a military exercise during the summer, close to the location where the undersea explosions occurred, RT reported.
Writing on its official Telegram channel, the ministry alleged that Royal Navy operatives “took part in planning, supporting and implementing” a “terrorist attack” to blow up the gas pipelines on September 26.
According to the Defence Ministry, the same British operatives were involved in the training of Ukrainian military personnel who recently attacked ships of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, which were implementing a grain deal between Russia and Ukraine, brokered by the UN and Turkey, RT reported.
The pipelines, which were built to deliver Russian natural gas directly to Germany, abruptly lost pressure on September 26, following a series of underwater explosions off the Danish island of Bornholm.
Both Western countries and Russia sounded the alarm about the incident, with Moscow denouncing it as a terrorist attack and calling for an investigation into the matter.
In late September, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted that this summer, NATO conducted military drills not far from Bornholm, which featured intensive use of “deep-sea equipment” .
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal, citing German officials familiar with the investigation, reported that the blasts which damaged the pipelines were caused by sabotage.
While the officials stopped short of naming the culprit, they were said to be “working under the assumption that Russia was behind the blasts”.
Moscow has repeatedly denied that it had anything to do with the incident, RT reported.
Meanwhile, Sky News has cited a UK defence official as saying Nord Stream 1 and 2 could have been damaged by a remotely detonated underwater explosive device.
At that time, the broadcaster said the pipelines might have been breached by mines lowered to the seabed, or explosives dropped from a boat or planted by an undersea drone.