Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing regarding the acts of sabotage at the Nord Stream pipeline

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July 11, 2023


We thank independent American journalists Bryce Greene and Jeffrey Brodsky for their briefings in which they shared with the Security Council objective facts as regards the acts of sabotage at Nord Strom pipes in the Baltic Sea in September 2022. They confirm our hypothesis that would have been impossible to commit without a direct involvement of or at least some “cover-up” provided by a state entity.

At our initiative, the Security Council has remained seized on this matter for several months by now. We note that regardless of the format of discussion and positions of states on the draft resolution that we proposed, almost all Council members unwaveringly condemned this crime and underscored the importance of finding out the truth and identifying the perpetrators.

However the Western colleagues tried to convince the Council that international efforts would not add any value before the national inquiries by Berlin, Copenhagen, and Stockholm were over and called insistently to wait for the investigations to terminate.

Well, it has been almost 10 months since the sabotage and four since the Security Council took action on our proposed draft resolution. Until yesterday, neither the Council nor the global community had any data on the progress of the investigations.

German, Danish, and Swedish authorities offered no meaningful response to our many addresses and queries. They did not respond either to the address by Prime Minister Mishustin in October 2022 about the need to hold an all-out investigation into the incident where representatives of the Russian authorities, as well as PJSC Gazprom or to the numerous verbal notes from Russian diplomatic missions on this regard. We repeatedly drew the attention of the Security Council to the fact that all our queries had received formal replies that turned down our cooperation proposals on far-fetched and clumsy pretexts. UNSC members had an opportunity to see with their own eyes copies of our exchanges with the authorities of Denmark, Sweden, and Germany that we circulated as documents of the Council in March (letters S/2023/193 and S/2023/223).

Apparently, our efforts made Germany, Denmark, and Sweden begin to realize that they do not only ignore requests of the Russian Federation, but basically neglect the opinion of the Security Council, among which members, as our consultations “behind the closed doors” had clearly indicated, become more and more confused and dissatisfied with the lack of information regarding the progress of national investigations. Being given another “yellow card” by a majority of UNSC member states, Berlin, Copenhagen, and Stockholm prepared a collective letter that was circulated yesterday. Unfortunately, it also looks much like an hollow official reply and cannot replace a substantive briefing for the Council members, where we would be able to ask them the many questions that we already have. Not only does the letter reiterate the false idea that Russia has allegedly been updated on the course of the inquiries, but the wording of the letter is also chosen in a specific way, as if the German, Danish and Swedish authorities tried to communicate to the Security Council members that they should not expect the investigations to yield any concrete results. Besides, it is impossible to say when those investigations are going to conclude. Even more telling is a wording from the part about the Swedish investigation. It goes as follows, “Further investigation will show if anyone can be suspected of having committed this crime and then held accountable for it”. This suggests that the Swedish authorities were never really after identifying the perpetrators. In these circumstances, ensuring the inevitability of punishment is out of the question. This is very indicative, especially in light of the fact that it exactly the Swedes were the first to arrive at the scene, as one of our briefers said today.

There is only one thing that can explain the telling idleness on the part of the authorities of European states. They try to drag out the time so the real perpetrators can cover the tracks. This is eloquently evidenced by a well-coordinated disinformation campaign in Western media that propels the versions that are clearly absurd. Formerly, some journalists argued that Russia itself had blasted the pipeline that was functioning in its interests. Recently, another fable started to dominate. According to it, the responsibility rests with some “pro-Ukrainian saboteurs” who allegedly are not connected to the Kiev regime. Quite indicatively, in a recent interview to The Times, Head of Ukrainian intelligence Kirill Budanov was asked directly if Ukrainian authorities had been involved in the Nord Stream blasts and other terrorist attacks and answered as follows, “We use direct actions. We use them and we love them. We know how to do them and we were proud of using them and we are not afraid of using them anywhere in this world against whoever.“

Let’s be frank, the bravado by the leaders of the Kiev regime does not seem trustworthy to us. They are prepared to take credit for anything that might help them to keep out of focus the failures of Ukrainian army on the frontline and blatant human rights violations in Ukraine that are taking place as Zelensky reinforces his dictatorship.

We also remember a rather plausible version that was presented by American journalist and investigator Seymour Hersh. Later he shared, with a reference to credible sources, that after a meeting of President Biden and Chancellor Scholz in March the US and German intelligence services were tasked to prepare and promote an alternative version who had sabotaged the Nord Streams. Right after that, stories started to spring up like mushrooms in Western media asserting that a sabotage may have been carried out almost by a bunch of laymen without any serious expertise or resources and also without a back-up by any state. And this is despite the fact that numerous independent experts, including those who appeared (even today) before the UN Security Council, made it clear that non-pros could not have carried out an operation to blow up gas pipelines that used top-of-the-line protection technology. Anyway, this could not have passed unnoticed for the states that are adjacent to this area, which is considered one of the most controlled in the world.

And how should we take the repeated threats against the Nord Streams by the highest-ranking US officials? There were quite a few of them. But as soon as the inconvenient facts came to surface, the Americans and their European allies started to oppose the initiative of an international investigation in every way possible. Besides, unlike many other UN member states, they turned out uninterested in efforts under the auspices of the Secretary-General. Western states benefit much more from having a free hand and enjoying total impunity in the framework of the “rules-based order” which they seek to impose on everyone in the world and which has got nothing to do with international law.


We must underscore that any efforts to cover up the traces of the sabotage in the Baltic Sea are doomed to failure. We expect the authorities of Germany, Denmark and Sweden to take concrete steps to conduct an objective and transparent investigation into all the circumstances of what happened with a mandatory involvement of Russian investigative authorities and other interested parties. In the meantime, we reserve the right to conduct our own investigation. In this context, we have also noted that the authorities of Germany, Denmark and Sweden claim in their joint letter that access to the crime scene is allegedly open. In that case, we will proceed from the assumption that our investigative bodies and experts can examine it independently at any time as part of the criminal proceedings initiated by the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation to look into a case of international terrorism.

The Russian Federation will raise the issue of sabotage of Nord Streams in the Security Council until the perpetrators are identified and held accountable. The letter mentioned today leaves little doubt that the three national investigations have no such task. We will use all means at our disposal to achieve that goal. We trust that our constructive colleagues on the UNSC and other members of the international community will support our efforts, and we are open to cooperation in this area. The Council must make it clear that crimes against transboundary pipeline infrastructure that pose a direct threat to international peace and security will not go unpunished. Only in this way can we prevent the recurrence of such crimes, to which any state can fall victim.

Thank you.


Right of reply by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy:


We made our statement at the beginning of the meeting, so now we asked for the floor to make a couple of replies.

Our first remark regards the words of the Us representative who said, if I remember this correctly, that affected states have the right to and must take part in the investigation. Do you think Russia, the actual owner of the pipe, is an affected state? Or do you think only the states were affected that are geographically adjacent to this area? I would want to believe that the notion “affected state” characterizes Russia as well, otherwise it would be illogical. And so we count on your support in enabling our experts to join the investigations. Now we have even more grounds for this.

And one more remark. I noted that today’s speeches, which many of our Western colleagues have devoted almost entirely to the Ukrainian crisis, allow us to clearly trace the cause-and-effect relationships that guided those who committed these crimes and those who did and do cover up for them. I guess I should thank you for that. This cause alone was already worth holding this meeting. I am convinced that this is excellent material for our national and then for an international investigation. The transcript of today’s meeting may as well serve as one of the main documents of this inquiry, at least at its initial stage.

Thank you.

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