Tue, 05 Dec 2023

Kiev's backers are turning a blind eye to Ukraine's attempts to attack Russia's Black Sea energy infrastructure, the foreign minister has said

Russia's 'TurkStream' and 'Blue Stream' pipelines, which deliver natural gas to Türkiye and parts of Europe, are under threat from Kiev, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday during a visit to Bangladesh. Moscow has reason to believe that Ukraine might be plotting attacks on the underwater infrastructure, the foreign minister stated.

Kiev's forces tried to attack Russian military ships patrolling the waters near the 'TurkStream' and 'Blue Stream' connectors, Lavrov claimed, adding that Russia has "launched patrols to these areas of the Black Sea, since there is information that there are attempts to blow up [the pipelines] just as the Nord Stream was blown up."

Now, "everyone" is demanding Russia consent to Ukraine's agricultural exports under the Black Sea grain deal Moscow suspended in July, according to Lavrov. Russia is "not forbidding it ... but we will not let them [the Ukrainians] through the humanitarian corridors," he added, explaining that Kiev's troops used these routes "to launch both surface and undersea vessels to attack not just our military ships, but civilian ones as well."

Lavrov maintained that the attacks by Ukraine are ignored by Kiev's backers and various international bodies. "No one is leading any real investigation" into it, he said, adding that the relevant authorities only claim that "national bodies are dealing with this issue" but "no information is provided."

The minister's words came just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin also claimed that the Russian ships guarding the Black Sea pipelines were "constantly under attack" and these attacks were "directed" from Ukraine's ports. He also cited these attacks - as well as Kiev's use of Black Sea humanitarian corridors for military purposes - as one of the reasons Russia suspended its participation in the grain deal, also known as the Black Sea Initiative.

Earlier, Moscow conceded that it would consider returning to the deal if the West were to fulfill its obligations and lift sanctions on Russian fertilizer and other agricultural products.

Putin made his statements during a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi. The Kremlin then clarified that the president was only referring to attacks on the Russian vessels and not on the pipelines themselves.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported in May that it had repelled a Ukrainian attack on a vessel that guards the undersea infrastructure.


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