Sergei Ryabkov, Russia's deputy foreign minister, blamed the U.S. on Thursday for explosions in the Nord Stream gas pipelines in September. He then warned of "consequences," according to Newsweek.
The accusations stem from a report written by American journalist Seymour Hersh on Substack, which claimed the U.S. played a role in damaging the gas transportation network. Hersh's report asserted that President Joe Biden was behind the attack.
The Biden administration on Wednesday adamantly denied Hersh's claims.
The White House refuted the claims as "utterly false and complete fiction," according to Newsweek.
Ryabkov said the "publication confirmed a conclusion we made for ourselves — the official representative of the Foreign Ministry said yesterday that we never had any doubts that the United States, possibly other NATO countries, were involved."
Ryabkov said there will be "consequences" but did not elaborate.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also blamed the U.S. for the attack during an interview last week with state TV. He cited comments by Victoria Nuland, U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, during a Senate hearing in January.
After the attack, a Swedish investigation concluded that detonations were the cause. At the time, Biden said it was a "deliberate act of sabotage" without blaming anyone.
During the January hearings, Nuland entered into a line of questioning with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, about whether sanctions against Nord Stream 2 pipeline could have prevented the invasion of Ukraine.
"Like you, I am, and I think the administration is, very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 is now, as you like to say, a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea," Nuland said.
According to Newsweek, the comment implied that the Biden administration was happy that the pipeline was unable to be used. The U.S. opposed the pipeline because Europe would then rely on Russia for energy. Russia completed the project just before its invasion of Ukraine.
Lavrov said Nuland's words were essentially a "confession."
A representative from the State Department told Newsweek that the allegations are "preposterous" and "just another desperate attempt to deflect" from the war.
The State Department official said: "The United States was not involved in any way" and will "continue to work with Allies and partners to get to the bottom of what happened."
The official also said that "these pipelines weren't pumping natural gas into Europe at the time. Nord Stream 2 was never operational. Nord Stream 1 had been shut down for weeks because of Russia's weaponization of energy."
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