(PresidentialHill.com)- Russian ships were spotted near the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines before they were damaged by explosions, according to Newsweek. Investigations are still underway to determine what led to the leaks within the pipes which supply gas from Russia to Europe. Fingers have been pointed at Moscow, but they are suggesting its sabotage by the United States.
Neither pipeline was in operation at the time of the incident, but reportedly contained gas under pressure within them. Russia closed pipeline 1 in August for maintenance and pipeline 2 was halted after the invasion of Ukraine.
Western officials claim that Russian vessels were spotted near the pipelines and are being investigated as the potential source of the underwater explosions in the Baltic Sea. Russia is being blamed for the sabotage but they deny any involvement in trying to hurt energy flows to Europe.
A total of four leaks have been found in the pipeline that supplies gas to Germany from Russia. U.S. officials have identified three separate and simultaneous leaks and Sweden found the fourth as it investigates with Denmark what could have caused the explosions. It could take up to two weeks to approach the site, however, because of the pressure in the pipes as a result of the explosion.
Russia has not been directly blamed for the sabotage, but is considered a major suspect despite its denial of involvement. The Russian embassy in the U.S. took to its Telegram social media account to poke at U.S. legislators who suggest that Russia was responsible, saying that they “have a better view from the top of Capitol Hill.”
“But if that is the case,” they continued, “they must also have seen the U.S. warships’ activities at the very site of the Russian infrastructure disruption just the day before,” the statement read. “Or noticed drones and helicopters fly over there.”
The message did not include any information over which American warships were spotted in the area, but Russian news outlet Lenta.ru reported that a U.S. Air Force helicopter had been seen near the pipelines before the incident, citing data from Flightradar.
The Russian embassy also noted exercises conducted recently by the U.S. Navy that involved “underwater explosives.”