Russia may demand compensation over Nord Stream blasts: Diplomat

Dmitry Birichevsky says Moscow intends to insist on a comprehensive and open international probe.

Europe pipeline
Pipes at the landfall facilities of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline are pictured in Lubmin, Germany [File: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters]

Russia may seek compensation over damage from last year’s explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines.

The pipelines, which connect Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea, were hit by unexplained blasts last September in what Moscow called an act of “international terrorism”.

“We do not rule out later the raising of the issue of compensation for damage as a result of the explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipelines,” Dmitry Birichevsky, head of Russia’s foreign ministry department for economic cooperation, said in an interview with the RIA Novosti news agency.

He added on Monday that Western countries were opposing a Russia-prepared draft UN Security Council resolution urging an independent international investigation of the Nord Stream blasts.

“Despite this, we intend to continue to insist on a comprehensive and open international investigation with the mandatory participation of Russian representatives,” Birichevsky said.

The Nord Stream pipelines were intended to bring Russian gas to Germany, though since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago, Berlin has taken steps to reduce its reliance on Russian hydrocarbons.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would establish who was behind the blasts before claiming any compensation.

“For now the data indicates that such a large-scale act of sabotage and a terrorist attack against critical infrastructure could not have been carried out without the participation of the state and special state services,” he said.

“You see that Western countries are taking all possible measures to cover up this issue… But Russia will do everything possible to prevent this from happening.”

A photo of a gas leak at sea at the site of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
A gas leak at Nord Stream 2 as seen from the air on Bornholm, Denmark, on September 27, 2022 [Reuters]

Putin’s comments

In mid-March, President Vladimir Putin dismissed as “sheer nonsense” allegations that Ukrainians could be behind the explosions that crippled the Nord Stream gas pipelines, suggesting the United States may have been responsible.

The Russian leader insisted the US had a motive to carry out the attack in the Baltic Sea last year, saying it wanted to halt supplies of cheap Russian natural gas to Europe and provide the continent with more expensive liquefied natural gas.

September’s explosions that hit the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines rendered them inoperable and caused significant leaks of methane gas.

The leaks in the Baltic Sea led to what is likely the biggest single release of climate-damaging methane ever recorded, the United Nations Environment Programme said.

Western countries, including Germany, have said they believe the blasts were a deliberate act but declined to say who they think was responsible.

Source: News Agencies