Russia rejected reports Wednesday that a “pro-Ukrainian group” with no official ties to the government in Kyiv may have carried out an attack on the Nord Stream gas pipelines last year.
Four large gas leaks were discovered on the pipelines linking Russia and Germany last September, with Moscow and the West blaming each other for “sabotage”.
The report in the New York Times did not give the source for the intelligence, or name the group that could be responsible, but said officials had seen no evidence implicating Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“It’s clear the people who orchestrated the attack want to create a diversion. This is clearly a well-coordinated media campaign,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in comments carried by state-run agency RIA Novosti.
“This whole story isn’t just weird. It reeks of a monstrous crime,” Peskov added.
Russia said it is being sidelined from probes being carried out by Swedish, Danish and German authorities, which have not pinned the blame on any one country or actor.
“We are still not allowed to participate in the investigation,” Peskov said.
“We received notices to that effect from the Danes and the Swedes only a few days ago.”
Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told reporters in Stockholm that the blast was “not our activity”.
And Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted that “Ukraine has nothing to do with the Baltic Sea mishap and has no information about ‘pro-Ukraine sabotage groups’.”