The UK Government accused Russia of making “false claims of an epic scale”, as it denied any involvement in the explosions that damaged Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea last month. Russia blamed personnel from Britain’s Royal Navy for blowing up the gas pipelines on Saturday. However, the Kremlin was unable to provide any evidence to back up its accusations.
In a statement, the Russian Ministry of Defence said: “According to available information, representatives of this unit of the British Navy took part in the planning, provision and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on September 26 this year.
“Blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines.”
A spokesperson for the UK’s Ministry of Defence dismissed the allegations as nonsense.
They said: “To detract from their disastrous handling of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defence is resorting to peddling false claims of an epic scale.
“This latest invented story, says more about the arguments going on inside the Russian Government than it does about the West.”
A series of huge explosions caused substantial damage to both Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines on September 26.
The blasts occurred in international waters in the Baltic Sea, but within the economic zones of Sweden and Denmark.
Intelligence sources told the German magazine Der Spiegel that they believed the pipelines were hit in four places by explosions using 500kg of TNT.
The incident happened just as the Baltic Pipe became operational, which aims to transport up to 10 billion cubic metres (350 billion cubic feet) per year from the North Sea to Poland via Denmark.
Putin, however, dismissed claims that Moscow was behind the attack and instead pointed the finger of blame at the US and its allies.
A Norwegian robotics company sent down cameras to investigate the damage caused by the blasts.
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Video from the underwater survey showed at least 50 metres (164ft) of pipeline had been ripped away by the powerful explosions.
Blueye Robotics, working in partnership with the Swedish publication Expressen, sent down a submersible drone to film the twisted and bent metal of the Nord Stream pipe 80m beneath the surface of the sea.
The company said that segments of the pipeline are either missing or buried in the seabed.
Drone operator Trond Larsen told Expressen: “It is only an extreme force that can bend metal that thick in the way we are seeing.”
The blasts caused leaks which released up to 500,000 tons of methane gas into the sea.
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The ICOS, a greenhouse gas observation system operating across Europe, said the emissions were equivalent to an entire year’s methane output for a city “the size of Paris or a country like Denmark”.
Manfredi Caltagirone, acting head of UNEP’s International Methane Emissions Observatory said: “This is really bad, most likely the largest emission event ever detected.
“This is not helpful in a moment when we absolutely need to reduce emissions.”
Methane is one of the strongest greenhouse gases, warming the atmosphere about 30 times more than carbon dioxide over a period of 100 years.