"To eliminate competitors and gain advantages, unfair methods of competition are used," Putin said during the convention. "Not only the destruction of transport and logistics chains and international payment channels but also acts of state terrorism." He pointed out that a "blatant example of this is the explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipeline system, laid along the bottom of the Baltic Sea."
On September 27, 2022, Nord Stream AG reported unprecedented damage that occurred the day before on three strings of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 offshore gas pipelines, which run under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany to provide Western Europe with natural gas. A day prior this, Swedish seismologists registered two explosions on the pipeline routes. The Russian Prosecutor General's Office then launched a criminal case based on charges of international terrorism.
Back in February, U.S. investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published an article that cited sources saying that U.S. Navy divers had planted explosive devices under the gas pipelines under the cover of the BALTOPS exercise in June 2022. It was an annual military exercise held and sponsored by the commander of United States Naval Forces Europe since 1971 in the Baltic Sea and the regions surrounding it. The report indicated further that Norwegians activated the bombs three months later. Three out of the four lines were said to have been destroyed in a series of explosions near the Danish island of Bornholm, which eventually led to the end of Germany's energy ties to Russia, leaving its gas-dependent economy reliant on more expensive American liquefied natural gas.
Hersh added that the decision to conduct the operation was made by U.S. President Joe Biden personally, following nine months of discussions with White House security specialists. White House National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson was quick to deny it in a comment sent to Russian state-owned news agency TASS, saying that Hersh's account was "utterly false and complete fiction."
Putin did not identify a culprit behind the bombing during his speech at the virtual meeting but he has previously said that he "fully agrees" with Hersh, who blamed the act of sabotage on the CIA. The Russian president argued that the U.S. benefited from the attack due to its position as a supplier of liquefied natural gas to Europe.
A competing theory popularized by multiple Western media outlets suggests that a team of Ukrainian commandos destroyed the pipelines, using a rented yacht to transport the explosives to the blast sites. Earlier this month, the Washington Post named Roman Chervinsky, a Ukrainian colonel close to the National Security Service (SBU), and Ukraine's top general, Valery Zaluzhny, as the masterminds of the attack. Chervinsky dismissed the allegations as "Russian propaganda," despite the fact that they originated in an American newspaper citing European and Ukrainian officials. (Related: BLAME GAME: USA blames Ukraine’s leaders for Nord Stream pipeline bombing.)
In the said G20 summit that was hosted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Putin in his first address to the leaders since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine in February last year, said that Moscow has never rejected peace talks with Kyiv and added that "military actions are always a tragedy."
"Of course, we must think about how to stop this tragedy," he told the online summit, according to Russia's state-owned Sputnik news agency. "In fact, Russia has never refused peace talks with Ukraine," he added.
Putin, who had skipped the in-person G20 summit in New Delhi in September, attended the virtual conference that was held one day after a special online meeting of the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to discuss the crisis in the Middle East.
In his opening remarks, The Indian prime minister said that new challenges have emerged in the past few months and the insecurity and instability in the Middle East is a matter of concern for all. He added later that it is important for them to make sure that the Israel-Hamas war doesn't take a regional shape of any kind.
After hearing the views of all participants on the serious situation in the Middle East, Modi could say that there was consensus within the G20 on many issues. "We all strongly condemn terrorism and violence; there is zero tolerance to terrorism," he said, adding that killings of innocent people, especially women and children, was unacceptable and that a permanent resolution was necessary for the Israel-Palestine issue through a two-state solution. "Restoration of regional peace and stability is essential," he further said and asserted that diplomacy and dialogue were the only way to resolve geopolitical tensions. "The G20 is ready to extend all possible cooperation in this regard," he added.
Read more about who really initiated the Nord Stream pipeline explosion at Pipelines.news.