A top Polish official slammed a Polish member of European Parliament on Tuesday for suggesting the United States was behind damage to two Russian gas pipelines to Germany this week.
Radoslaw Sikorski, a member of European Parliament and chairman of the Delegation for relations with the United States, wrote on Twitter, “Thank you, USA,” along with a picture that showed methane coming to the surface from one of the spots where the pipeline ruptured.
“By the way, there’s no shortage of pipeline capacity for taking gas from Russia to Western Europe, including Germany,” Sikorski claimed on Twitter. “Nordstream’s only logic was for Putin to be able to blackmail or wage war on Eastern Europe with impunity.”
“All Ukrainian and Baltic sea states have opposed Nordstream’s construction for 20 years,” he continued. “Now $20 billion of scrap metal lies at the bottom of the sea, another cost to Russia of its criminal decision to invade Ukraine. Someone, @MFA_Russia , did a special maintenance operation.”
Russia instantly capitalized on the statement from Sikorksi, who is married to American leftist writer Anne Applebaum, asking on social media if his statement was “an official statement on this being a terrorist attack.”
💬 Russian MFA Spokeswoman Maria #Zakharova: ex Polish FM, now European MP @radeksikorski has thanked the US for today's incident at the Russian gas pipeline (Nord Stream 2).
Is it an official statement on this being a terrorist attack? https://t.co/QnGc10kNCq
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) September 27, 2022
Sikorksi’s remarks were quickly condemned by Stanislaw Zaryn, Poland’s secretary of state and former director of the Department of National Security.
“Russian #propaganda instantly launched a smear campaign against Poland, the US and Ukraine, accusing the West of aggression against #NS1 and #NS2,” Zaryn tweeted. “Authenticating the Russian lies at this particular moment jeopardizes the security of Poland. What an act of gross irresponsibility!”
Russian #propaganda instantly launched a smear campaign against Poland, the US and Ukraine, accusing the West of aggression against #NS1 and #NS2.
Authenticating the Russian lies at this particular moment jeopardizes the security of Poland.
What an act of gross irresponsibility! pic.twitter.com/S9YJKRCv9B
— Stanisław Żaryn (@StZaryn) September 27, 2022
Nord Stream AG, the Russian company behind the pipelines, released a statement on the incident, calling it “unprecedented.”
“The destruction that occurred on the same day simultaneously on three strings of the offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented,” the company said in a statement. “It is not yet possible to estimate the timing of the restoration of the gas transport infrastructure.”
A report from German news outlet Spiegel said that the CIA had cautioned Germany about possible attacks on Baltic Sea gas pipelines weeks ago. Berlin is presently assuming it was a targeted attack on the Nord Stream system, unnamed sources said.
Germany, the continent’s largest economy, relied upon Russian natural gas for 55% of its imports before the beginning of the conflict. The producer price index for industrial products in Germany has risen 45.8% year-over-year as of August 2022, according to data from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, which followed increases of 37.2% in July 2022 and 32.7% in June 2022.
Several manufacturers have therefore paused operations in response to high energy prices and a likely drop in consumer demand. Industrial production in the eurozone has fallen 2.3%, according to data from the European Union.
Ben Zeisloft contributed to this report.
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