Putin’s TV stooges have pounced on a new conspiracy theory that British divers were behind the mysterious gas pipeline bombings in the Baltic Sea.
The theory is the latest effort by Kremlin propagandists to blame and confuse the attacks on the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which Russia has called a result of state-sponsored “terrorism”.
A sharp drop in pressure on both pipelines was recorded on September 26 and seismologists detected explosions, sparking a wave of speculation about who could have sabotaged one of Russia’s most important energy corridors.
The European Union said it suspected the sabotage caused the damage to Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines run by Gazprom in Swedish and Danish waters. The White House has dismissed Russian claims that he was behind the incidents.
And now presenter Olga Skabeyeva, known as Putin’s ‘Iron Doll’ propagandist, has used the usual conspiracy theorist playbook to raise many questions that don’t require support or evidence to cast suspicion on Great 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 scuba diving exercises were taking place for three days right next to the Nord Stream gas pipeline when the sabotage happened
She was using the usual conspiracy theorist playbook to raise many questions that do not require support or evidence to cast suspicion on Britain.
The explosions caused thousands of tons of natural gas to leak into the Baltic Sea, causing dangerous swells that disrupted shipping and could cause an environmental disaster if the leak cannot be stopped.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said ‘sabotage’ against Nord Stream was an ‘act of international terrorism’
Without citing any evidence, Skabeyeva said: “The morning after the explosion, a report reached the White House that British scuba diving exercises were taking place for the third day just off the Nord Stream.
“On the same day, London rewarded them for some kind of combat merit in carrying out … a significant exercise in foreign territorial waters, whatever that means.
“A few weeks before the explosion, an American military helicopter hovered closely over the scene.
“Yes and the blast site is just a quiet place for exercises, it’s where Denmark and NATO train regularly.”
“In June, the United States boasted of successes in the field of underwater drones, which have been tested.
‘Where? Still in the same place.
‘Now the head of the Pentagon [Lloyd] Austin offers Denmark and Sweden his help in the investigation.
“And all of a sudden the Western media is trying to get the idea in the minds of the general public that the gas explosions were caused by the Kremlin, which of course benefits Gazprom.”
There have been accusations that US President Joe Biden is responsible for the Nord Stream attack, citing his statement in early February that he would shut down Nord Stream if Russian troops and tanks entered Ukraine.
She said there was “no evidence” that the British were behind the underwater bombardment, but it was “very likely”.
The attacks prompted Italy to step up naval surveillance and controls on pipelines bringing gas to the Mediterranean country from the south and east, two senior officials told Reuters.
Meanwhile, Russia’s top spy said on Friday Moscow had intelligence indicating the West was behind what he called a “terrorist act” against Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea.
“We have documents that indicate a Western trace in the organization and implementation of these terrorist acts,” Sergei Naryshkin, the director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), told reporters on state television. .
The spy chief’s remarks are the most direct public accusation against the West from a senior Russian official. He did not specify what evidence Russia had, but said the West was trying to conceal the identity of the perpetrator of the attack.
“The West is doing everything to hide the real perpetrators and organizers of this international terrorist act,” Naryshkin said. The SVR is the direct successor to the once-powerful first KGB Chief Directorate of the Soviet era.
President Vladimir Putin said on 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 remarks, but said there must be a full international investigation into the incidents.
Sergei Naryshkin, director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR)
Despite Putin’s remarks yesterday in a phone call 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 obvious” who was behind it all, but did not say who it was.
NATO said the blasts looked like a reckless and irresponsible act of sabotage, and that any deliberate attack on Western alliance nations’ infrastructure would prompt a “united and determined response”.
Sweden’s energy minister said on Friday it was “very likely” that the attack on the pipelines was carried out on purpose by a state actor.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “It looks like an act of terrorism, perhaps at the state level.”
“It is very difficult to imagine that such an act of terrorism could have occurred without the involvement of any state.”
Since the ruptures were first detected earlier this week, officials in Moscow have hinted that the West, led by the United States, may be behind the attack. On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Washington stands to gain from the pipeline disruption.
Neither Nord Stream 1 nor 2 were in service when the ruptures were discovered on Monday, but both contained gas. Nord Stream AG, the operator of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, said it expected the gas leak to stop by Monday, but was unable to access the area to assess the damage.