Putin’s TV stooges have pounced on a new conspiracy theory that it was British divers behind the mysterious Baltic Sea pipeline bombings.
The theory is the latest effort by Kremlin propagandists to shift the blame and sow confusion over attacks on the Nord Stream pipeline, which Russia has called the result of state-sponsored “terrorism.”
On September 26, there was a sharp drop in pressure in both pipelines and seismologists detected explosions, sparking a wave of speculation about who might have sabotaged one of Russia’s most important energy corridors.
The European Union said it suspected the sabotage caused the damage to the Gazprom-led Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in Swedish and Danish waters. The White House has dismissed Russian accusations that it was behind the incidents.
And now presenter Olga Skabeyeva, known as Putin’s ‘Iron Doll’ propagandist, has employed the usual conspiracy theorist playbook of asking lots of questions that don’t require support or evidence to cast suspicion on Britain. .
“If you look at the military activity in the area of the bombing, there are a lot of coincidences,” he told viewers. Watch your hands, as they say.
TV presenter Olga Skabeyeva claimed that British diving exercises were taking place for three days right next to the Nord Stream gas pipeline when the sabotage occurred.
She was employing the usual conspiracy theorist playbook to pose a lot of questions that don’t require support or evidence to cast suspicion on Britain.
The explosions have caused thousands of tonnes of natural gas to leak into the Baltic Sea, causing dangerous swells that have disrupted shipping and may cause environmental catastrophe 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: “On the morning after the explosion, a report reached the White House that British diving exercises were taking place for the third day just off the Nord Stream.
On the same day, London rewarded them for some form of combat merit by carrying out… a major exercise in foreign territorial waters, whatever that means.
‘A few weeks before the explosion, a US military helicopter flew in tight circles over the scene.
‘Yes, and the blast site is just a quiet place for exercises, it’s where Denmark and NATO regularly train.
‘In June, the US boasted of successes in the field of underwater drones, which were tested.
‘Where? Again in the same place.
‘Now head of the Pentagon [Lloyd] Austin offers Denmark and Sweden his help in the investigation.
“And suddenly, the Western media is trying hard to instill in the mind of the general public the idea 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 attack on the Nord Stream, citing his statement in early February that he would end the Nord Stream if Russian troops and tanks entered Ukraine.
She said there was “no evidence” that the British were behind the submarine bombardment, but that it was “highly likely”.
The attacks have prompted Italy to tighten surveillance and naval 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 Friday that Moscow had intelligence indicating the West was behind what it said was a “terrorist act” against Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea.
“We have materials that point to a Western trail in the organization and implementation of these terrorist acts,” Sergei Naryshkin, 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 he said the West was trying to hide who carried out 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 KGB First General Directorate of the Soviet era.
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 remarks, but said a full international investigation into the incidents was necessary.
Sergei Naryshkin, director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR)
Despite Putin’s comments yesterday in a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, the attack is believed to have been orchestrated by Russia.
Fatih Birol, director of the International Energy Agency, said it was “very obvious” who was behind it, but did not say who it was.
NATO said the explosions appeared to be a reckless and irresponsible act of sabotage, and that any deliberate attack on the infrastructure of Western alliance countries would be met with a “united and determined response”.
Sweden’s energy minister said on Friday that it was “very likely” that the attack on the pipelines was carried out on purpose 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 an act of terrorism could have occurred without the involvement of some kind of state.”
Since the breaches were first detected 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 disruption of the pipelines.
Neither Nord Stream 1 nor 2 were operational when the ruptures were discovered Monday, but both contained gas. Nord Stream AG, the operator of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, said it expects the gas leak to stop by Monday but has been unable to access the area to assess the damage.