The Kremlin on Tuesday said that Russia was considering “further steps” to take in response to Britain’s alleged role in the attacks on the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines, which connect Russia and Germany.
“Such actions cannot be put aside. Of course, we will think about further steps. It definitely cannot be left like this,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
On Saturday, Russia’s Defense Ministry accused British “naval specialists” of involvement in the attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines, which resulted in what was likely the largest-ever methane gas release. London has denied the Russian accusation.
Peskov claimed that Russia had evidence of the UK’s involvement, but Moscow has yet to present any. “There is evidence that Britain was involved in this act of sabotage, in plain language, a terrorist act, against a vital energy infrastructure, and not Russian — it is very important to take this into account — but an international energy infrastructure,” he said, according to TASS.
In the wake of the pipeline leaks, Western officials and media outlets claimed Russia was behind the blasts. But Moscow has little motive to destroy pipelines that are mainly owned by Gazprom, the Russian state gas company.
The US has the motive to attack the pipelines as it has long opposed Nord Stream 2 and tried to stop the pipeline’s construction with sanctions. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the Nord Stream explosions provide a “tremendous opportunity” to wean Europe off Russian gas, and President Biden had previously threatened to “bring an end” to Nord Stream 2.
But at this point, no evidence has been made public that shows the US or any of its allies were involved in blasts. Demark and Sweden are conducting investigations into the leaks and concluded they were caused by explosions, but they haven’t named a culprit and aren’t sharing many details.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said Tuesday that Russia had officially begun an investigation into the causes of the explosions. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Gazprom was allowed to conduct inspections of the leaks.