Speaking at an energy forum in Moscow on Wednesday, the Russian leader said the explosions at the pipelines were a terrorist attack that have set “the most dangerous precedent,” Bloomberg reported.
“It shows that any critically important object of transport, energy, or utilities infrastructure is under threat irrespective of where it is located or by whom it is managed,” he said.
Officials from both the West and Russia are investigating the blasts to the crucial pipelines that occurred on Sept. 26. Russian officials have blamed unfriendly countries for the explosions, while the United States and its allies have suggested Russia may have been behind the incident.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak, meanwhile, has said that the leak is “nothing more than a terrorist attack planned by Russia and an act of aggression toward the EU,” and claimed that Russia wants to “destabilize the economic situation in Europe and cause pre-winter panic.”
Putin on Wednesday blamed the damage to the pipelines on U.S., Ukrainian, and Polish sabotage, and claimed that those nations had benefited from the explosions, which caused major gas leaks.
Officials in NATO and the European Union have stressed the need to secure energy infrastructure in their countries following the leaks in the pipelines, which came in the wake of Western sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine.
Polish Pipeline Leak
On Wednesday, Polish operator PERN said it had detected a leak in a pipeline that carries energy supplies from Russia to Europe, including Germany, Poland, Belarus, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Austria.
The Druzhba oil pipeline is located just over 40 miles from the Polish city of Plock.
“At the moment, the causes of the incident are unknown – pumping on the damaged line was immediately switched off. Pumping through the other line remains undisturbed,” the company said in a statement.
However, Mateusz Berger, the Polish government’s representative for Strategic Energy Infrastructure told Reuters that there were no grounds to believe the leak was caused by an act of sabotage and that it was likely accidental.
“Here we can talk about accidental damage,” Berger said. “We are living in turbulent times, different connotations are possible, but at this stage we have no grounds at all to believe that,” he added.
Earlier this month, German officials branded cuts to cables essential to the rail network in the northern part of the country an act of sabotage, but stopped short of blaming Russia.
Meanwhile, Putin has suggested that Russia redirect supplies that were meant to run through the damaged Nord Stream pipelines to the Black Sea, thereby establishing a gas hub in Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly sought to play the role of mediator in the Russia–Ukraine conflict.
The Russian president has also touted using one intact part of Nord Stream 2 to supply the EU, although European officials have been quick to rebuff that idea as relations between the Kremlin and the West continue to worsen.