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Putin’s TV stooges have seized upon a new conspiracy theory that British divers were behind the mysterious bombings of the Baltic gas pipeline.
The theory is the latest attempt by Kremlin propagandists to blame and confuse the attacks on the Nord Stream pipeline, which Russia called the result of state-sponsored “terrorism.”
On September 26, a sharp drop in pressure was recorded on both pipelines and seismologists detected explosions, sparking a wave of speculation about who might have sabotaged one of Russia’s major energy corridors.
The European Union said it suspected sabotage caused damage to the Gazprom-run Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in Swedish and Danish waters. The White House has rejected Russian allegations that it was behind the incidents.
And now presenter Olga Skabeyeva, known as Putin’s “Iron Doll” propagandist, has used the usual conspiracy theorist’s script to raise many questions that need no support or evidence to cast suspicion on Britain.
“If you look at the military activity in the bombing area, there are a lot of coincidences,” she told viewers. “Watch your hands, as they say.”
TV presenter Olga Skabeyeva claimed British diving drills were taking place right next to the Nord Stream gas pipeline for three days when the sabotage took place
She used the usual conspiracy theorist’s playbook to raise many questions that need no support or evidence to suspect Britain
The blast has spilled thousands of tons of natural gas into the Baltic Sea, creating a dangerous swell that has disrupted shipping and could cause an environmental disaster if the leak cannot be stopped
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the ‘sabotage’ against Nord Stream is an ‘act of international terrorism’
Without citing any evidence, Skabeyeva said: “In the morning after the explosion, a report came to the White House that British diving exercises were underway for the third day right next to the Nord Stream.
“On the same day, London rewarded them for some sort of combat merit in conducting…a major exercise in foreign territorial waters, whatever that means.
“A few weeks before the explosion, a US military helicopter circled overhead.
‘Yes, and the site of the explosion is just a quiet place for exercises, it is where Denmark and NATO train regularly.
In June, the US boasted of successes in the field of underwater drones being tested.
‘Where? Again in the same location.
‘Now the Pentagon chief’ [Lloyd] Austin offers Denmark and Sweden his assistance with the investigation.
“And all of a sudden the Western media is trying to give the general public the idea that the gas explosions were caused by the Kremlin, which of course benefits Gazprom.”
Allegations have been made that US President Joe Biden is responsible for the Nord Stream attack, citing his statement in early February that he would “bring Nord Stream to an end” if Russian troops and tanks entered Ukraine.
She said there was “no evidence” that the British were behind the underwater bombing, but it was “very likely”.
The attacks have prompted Italy to strengthen naval surveillance and controls on the pipelines that bring gas from the south and east to the Mediterranean country, two senior officials told Reuters.
Meanwhile, the top Russian spy on Friday said Moscow had information showing that the West was behind what he said was a “terrorist act” against the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea.
“We have material that points to a Western track in the organization and execution of these terrorist acts,” Sergei Naryshkin, the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), told reporters on state television.
The spy chief’s comments are the most direct public accusation against the West by a senior Russian official. He did not say what evidence Russia had, but said the West was trying to cover up who carried out the attack.
“The West is doing everything it can to hide the true perpetrators and organizers of this international terrorist act,” Naryshkin said. The SVR is the direct successor to the once mighty first Soviet-era KGB Chief Directorate.
President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that the “unprecedented sabotage” against the Nord Stream gas pipelines was “an act of international terrorism.”
The Kremlin declined to comment on Naryshkin’s comments, but said a thorough international investigation into the incidents was needed.
Sergei Naryshkin, the director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR)
Despite Putin’s comments yesterday in a telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, the attack is widely believed to have been orchestrated by Russia.
Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency, said it was “very clear” who was behind it, but did not say who it was.
NATO said the explosions looked like a reckless and irresponsible act of sabotage, and that any deliberate attack on the infrastructure of countries in the Western alliance would be met with a “united and determined response.”
Sweden’s energy minister said on Friday that it is “highly likely” that the attack on the pipelines was deliberately done by a state actor.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “This looks like an act of terrorism, possibly at the state level.
“It is very difficult to imagine that such a terrorist act could have taken place without the involvement of some state.”
Since the breaches were first discovered earlier this week, officials in Moscow have hinted that the US-led West could be behind the attack. On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Washington would benefit from the pipeline disruption.
Nord Stream 1 or 2 were not in operation when the fractures were discovered Monday, but both contained gas. Nord Stream AG, the operator of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, said it expected the gas leak to stop on Monday, but was unable to reach the area to assess the damage.