Russia continues to call for a thorough international investigation into the sabotage, a senior diplomat has said
Moscow may insist on compensation for the blasts that ruptured the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines last autumn, Dmitry Birichevsky, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department for economic cooperation, said on Monday.
Speaking to RIA Novosti, the diplomat said that Russia did not rule out "the possibility of later raising the issue of compensatory damages over the explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipelines," which directly connected Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea.
Birichevsky did not say from whom Russia would be demanding payment, nor did he specify in what form or amount it should be.
He noted that after veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh released his bombshell report last month pinning the blame on the US for the sabotage - a claim dismissed in Washington - Russia prepared a resolution urging the UN Security Council to launch an independent international investigation into the matter.
However, Birichevsky claimed that "Western countries are actively sabotaging the work on the draft resolution, claiming that the international investigation lacks 'added value'."
Despite this opposition, Russia would continue to push for a "comprehensive and open international investigation," he said, stressing that Moscow's representatives should absolutely take part in the process.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov supported a possible push for compensation. He described the claim as "justified," arguing that the available data "indicate that... such a terrorist attack against critical infrastructure could not have been staged without the involvement of the state and intelligence services."
In an interview on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he "fully agrees" with Hersh's conclusions on who orchestrated the blasts. The American journalist alleged that US President Joe Biden ordered the attack because he did not like the German government's reluctance to send more military support to Ukraine.
Western media, however, has presented another version of events. Earlier this month, the New York Times claimed, citing sources, that a "pro-Ukrainian group" may have been behind the attack on the pipelines while German media reported that a yacht allegedly used in the sabotage belonged to a Polish-based company owned by two Ukrainians.
Kremlin Press Secretary Peskov has dismissed those reports as "a coordinated hoax" meant to divert attention from the real culprits behind the blasts.