Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the notion an autonomous pro-Ukrainian group of activists blew up the Nord Stream pipelines as “total nonsense,” insisting the operation was likely carried out at the “state level” and needed the expertise of specialists.
The claims a group of six pro-Ukrainian activists departed the German port city of Rostock in a yacht and blew up the gas pipelines lying 80 meters under sea level were first reported by the New York Times earlier this month, citing U.S. intelligence officials. They were later corroborated by Germany’s Die Zeit newspaper reporting on the findings of German investigators; however, several members of the German press have since identified major holes in the theory.
In an interview with the state Rossiya-1 TV channel on Tuesday, Putin revealed his government has been sidelined as Denmark, Germany and Sweden conduct their own investigations of the site.
“We asked the Danish authorities about a request to work together or to form an international group of experts, specialists.
“The answer, as I said, was vague. Simply put, no answer. They said we had to wait,” Putin said.
The Russian leader dismissed the latest reports regarding a pro-Ukrainian fringe group being responsible as “total nonsense,” an issue on which he and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who also called the idea of Ukrainian participation “ridiculous,” appear to agree.
“An explosion of this kind, of this power, at this depth can only be carried out by specialists, and supported by the full power of a state in possession of certain technologies.
“One should always look for those who have an interest (in achieving the given outcome). And who has such an interest? Theoretically, of course, the United States,” Putin added.
The U.S. government denied any involvement in the incident in September last year, but it felt the heat after a report by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh last month fingered the CIA and U.S. Navy as being responsible for the sabotage.