Putin flatly denies allegations

Written by Henrik Rothen

Oct.13 - 2023 5:37 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Putin flatly denies allegations.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed allegations that a gas leak in a pipeline between Finland and Estonia in the Baltic Sea could have been caused by "external action."

Speaking at a meeting in Kyrgyzstan for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Putin stated that the entire situation aims to divert attention from the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipeline carried out by the West.

"The use of heavy equipment in residential areas is a complex issue, fraught with serious consequences," Putin said. He emphasized that the main concern is that civilian casualties would be "completely unacceptable."

The pipeline in question, known as Balticconnector, runs between Paldiski in Estonia and Ingå in Finland. Damage to the pipeline and a telecommunications cable was confirmed by Finland's Gasgrid, which reported a drop in pressure and a possible leak related to a storm on Sunday.

Swedish broadcaster SVT reported that the Finnish military has been involved in investigating the leak. Finnish public service media Yle, citing unnamed sources, said the leak "does not appear to be an accident."

Yle also cited Finnish tabloid Iltalehti, which claimed that the Finnish government and defense forces suspect Russia of attacking the pipeline. However, these claims are based on unnamed foreign and security sources and have not been confirmed through official channels.

The visit to Kyrgyzstan marks Putin's first foreign trip since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against him in March. The warrant requires ICC member countries to arrest the individual against whom it has been issued if they set foot in those countries.