The Russian stance also reverberates on social media forums popular with American conservatives and far-right groups.
NATO leaders believe the damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines between Russia and Germany is the result of sabotage. NATO has refrained from identifying a suspect pending an investigation into the damage.
Russia began blaming the United States quickly after the damage was reported late Monday. At a ceremony for the annexation of four Ukrainian regions on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said “Anglo-Saxons” in the West were behind the “terrorist attacks”, but did not specify any nation.
Pravda and other Russian state media reported on Thursday that the United States was operating underwater robots capable of carrying out acts of sabotage. The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry raised her suspicions of US involvement in a Telegram article.
“Europe must know the truth! Maria Zakharova wrote on Telegram on Wednesday.
President Joe Biden rejected Russia’s claims on Friday.
“It was a deliberate act of sabotage. And now the Russians are spreading misinformation and lies,” Biden said. “…When things calm down, we’ll send in the divers to find out exactly what happened. We don’t know exactly yet. But don’t listen to what Putin says. What he says, we know, is not true.
Claims of US responsibility cite Biden’s threat in February to shut down the recently completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine. “If Russia invades… then there will be no more Nord Stream 2,” Biden said. “We will end it.”
The two Nord Stream lines were out of service but were filled with tons of methane which began to bubble to the surface from the damage. Russia recently closed the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline as it increased energy pressure on Europe. Nord Stream 2 has never been used.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson played the clip of Biden on his show on Tuesday and raised the possibility that the United States was behind the sabotage.
“If they did that, it would be one of the craziest, most destructive things an American administration has ever done, but it would also be totally consistent with what they’re doing,” Carlson said.
Former President Donald Trump also reposted Biden’s remarks on Truth Social along with a call for the United States to remain “cool, calm” in its dealings with Russia. “Wow. What a statement. Someone from WWIII? he wrote.
A Trump spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a message on Friday.
The suggestion that the United States caused the damage was circulating online forums popular with American conservatives and followers of QAnon, a conspiracy theory movement that claims Trump is fighting a battle against a satanic drug-trafficking cult. children who control world events.
The claim’s popularity among America’s far-right and the speed with which it spread from Russian state media reflect growing skepticism about America’s role in the war in Ukraine, according to Emma Ashford , a principal investigator at the Washington, DC-based Stimson Center and a security and energy expert.
“Russia is pretty good at taking advantage of these divisions, but it’s not creating them,” she said.
Networks allied with the Kremlin also aired scary stories about Ukrainian refugees and blamed Ukrainians for wartime atrocities.
Viewed in this context, the conspiracy theory alleging US liability for pipeline damage is consistent, the researchers concluded.
“The central theme is that this is a false flag operation, an American plot designed to convince Europe that this was a Russian attack intended to signal the vulnerability of Europe’s energy supply. Europe,” the researchers wrote.
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