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EU brands Hersh’s investigation of Nord Stream blasts as 'speculation'

It is stressed that the only basis for any possible response can be the outcome of an official investigation

BRUSSELS, February 20. /TASS/. The European Commission considers the conclusions drawn by US journalist Seymour Hersh that the Nord Stream gas pipelines were blown up by the US with Norway’s support under the cover of the BALTOPS exercise as "speculations" and is not going to comment on them, the commission’s Press Officer Andrea Masini told TASS on Monday.

"We do not comment on speculations about the perpetrators of the sabotage against the Nord Stream pipelines. The only basis for any possible response can be the outcome of an official investigation. Such investigations are the responsibility of the competent authorities of the Member States concerned. And they are still ongoing. So far, it has only been established that the pipelines were destroyed by a deliberate act of sabotage," the official said.

This response to a request by TASS was the European Commission’s first reaction to the article published by Hersh on February 8.

"In light of the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, we have taken swift action to accelerate work in three priority areas: preparedness, response and international cooperation," the commission’s representative said.

Brussels’ silence

Since Hersh’s investigative piece was published, not a single Western reporter in Brussels has questioned the European Commission about its opinion of its results at any of the commission’s or the European External Action Service’s press events.

TASS’ request to comment on the investigation’s results was initially directed to the EU’s External Action Service, however, after a prolonged pause the response was submitted by the European Commission’s Home Affairs unit, thus stressing the agency’s stance that it is unaware of the masterminds and perpetrators of the sabotage, or of their foreign origin, therefore, the issue is not in the purview of the commission’s foreign service.

Battling the Nord Stream

The European Commission, led by former German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen, was initially against the Nord Stream project viewing it as an instrument of Russia’s political influence over Germany and the EU. In 2019, in order to limit the capabilities of the Nord Stream 2, the European Commission even changed the EU’s gas regulation laws, approving amendments to the EU Gas Directive in record time which legally allowed it to restrict gas pumping over the pipeline to 50% of its capacity.

On February 8, US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh wrote in an article, citing sources, that US Navy divers had planted explosive devices under the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines under the cover of the BALTOPS exercise in June 2022 and Norwegians activated the bombs three months later. According to the journalist, the decision to conduct the operation was made by US President Joe Biden. White House National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a comment to TASS that Hersh’s account was utterly false and complete fiction.