The paper says some Western officials have privately raised questions about Moscow’s alleged culpability
Several unnamed European officials have privately acknowledged doubts about whether Russia is to blame for the destruction of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, according to the Washington Post. The two gas pipelines that cross the Baltic Sea were broken by several powerful explosions at the end of September.
In an article published Wednesday, the newspaper quoted an anonymous European official as saying, “there is no evidence at this time that Russia was behind the sabotage.” The article said the assessment was shared by 23 diplomatic and intelligence personnel from nine European countries, whom the Post interviewed in recent weeks.
Several of the sources expressed the view that Russia was unlikely to be behind the explosions. Others, however, argued only that it would likely be impossible to assign responsibility to a country beyond a reasonable doubt, the paper reported.
Some officials quoted in the article referred to alleged wiretapping of communications between Russian officials and military forces obtained by US intelligence. According to them, Washington has so far seen nothing to indicate Russian involvement.
After the attacks on the two pipelines, only one of which was operational, Western governments were quick to point the finger at Moscow.
Just four days after the incident, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told the BBC that it “works[ed]“Russia was guilty.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck, in turn, said in early October that “Russia saying ‘it wasn’t us’ is like saying ‘I’m not the thief’.”
The Ukrainian government described the explosions as a “terrorist attack planned by Russia”.
On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that “apparently no one in the EU will objectively investigate” the explosions.
In mid-October, the ministry released a statement saying German, Swedish and Danish authorities had refused to allow Moscow to participate in their investigations despite the latter’s request. The statement said the Kremlin would see the rejections as evidence that the countries “have something to hide or [that] they hide the perpetrators of these terrorist attacks.”
It also warned that Moscow would “of course not recognize any ‘pseudo-results’ of such an investigation, unless Russian experts participate in it.”
At the time of the incident, neither Nord Stream 1 nor Nord Stream 2 was pumping Russian gas to Europe. Exports via the older channel had been halted by Moscow in early September, citing Western sanctions as the reason. Although Nord Stream 2 was technically ready, it had not received permission from German authorities and had never been operational.