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No reason for Moscow not to destroy undersea communication cables, Medvedev

A close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday there was no reason for Moscow not to destroy its enemies’ undersea communication cables given what he said was Western complicity in the Nord Stream pipeline blasts.

A sharp drop in pressure on both gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea was registered on Sept. 26 last year and seismologists detected explosions, triggering a wave of speculation about sabotage to one of Russia’s most important energy corridors.

It is still unclear exactly what happened to Nord Stream, a multibillion-dollar project that carried Russian gas to Germany. Some U.S. and European officials initially suggested Russia had blown up its own pipelines, an interpretation dismissed as idiotic by President Vladimir Putin.

In recent months, U.S. newspapers including The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have reported that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency knew of a Ukrainian plot to attack the pipelines. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has denied Ukraine attacked them.

“If we proceed from the proven complicity of Western countries in blowing up the Nord Streams, then we have no constraints – even moral – left to prevent us from destroying the ocean floor cable communications of our enemies,” Medvedev, a former Russian president who is now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said on Telegram.

Sub-sea cables which criss-cross the world’s oceans have become the arteries of global communications. Their importance has made them the focus of growing geopolitical competition between China and Russia on the one side and the United States and its Western allies on the other.

The intelligence chief of the NATO military alliance cautioned in May that Russia may sabotage undersea cables to punish the West for supporting Ukraine.

Nord Stream
Reuters has not corroborated any of the many theories and reports about who attacked the pipelines, or why.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that it was studying all the information about the attacks.

“We have repeatedly said that what was done on the Nord Streams could only have been carried out by the special services of a state,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “Only a country or group of countries can be behind this terrorist attack.”

Russia has repeatedly said the West was behind the Nord Stream blasts – particularly the United States and Britain, which both deny involvement.

In a blog post in February, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh cited an unidentified source as saying that U.S. navy divers had destroyed the pipelines with explosives on the orders of President Joe Biden.

The White House dismissed that as “utterly false and complete fiction.” The Kremlin said the information deserved to be investigated.

“We still insist that there should be an absolutely transparent and inclusive international investigation,” Peskov said. “In order to find those who ordered and perpetrated this international crime.” Reuters

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