Russia's request for UN inquiry into Nord Stream blasts fails

Russia proposed the draft resolution last month, just days before the first anniversary of its invasion of Ukraine

Bubbles from the gas leak at the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. AFP
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The UN Security Council on Monday rejected Moscow's draft resolution calling for an independent inquiry into the sabotage last year of the Nord Stream gas pipelines from Russia to Germany.

The draft resolution stated the attack was carried out by a state actor and that a UN investigation is needed to “uncover the truth and identify those responsible".

It was co-sponsored by China, Belarus, Venezuela, North Korea, Nicaragua, Syria and Eritrea.

It received three votes in favour from Russia, China, and Brazil, with the other 12 Council members abstaining.

Russia’s UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzya, said Moscow’s request for an independent investigation of the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage had stemmed from Moscow’s lack of confidence in an existing European investigation.

"We have serious and very well-founded doubt as to the objectiveness and transparency of national investigations conducted by some European states," Mr Nebenzya said.

"I think that after today's vote, suspicion as to who is behind the act of sabotage on the Nord Stream is just obvious."

The pipeline blasts occurred in the exclusive economic zones of Sweden and Denmark.

Last month Sweden, Denmark and Germany said that their own separate investigations by national authorities were continuing and that Russia has been informed.

Moscow alleges that the three nations are engaged in a US-backed cover-up and has rejected its repeated requests for a joint investigation.

Deputy US ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, “categorically” denied Moscow’s “unfounded allegations” that Washington was behind this “act of sabotage".

“As we have said previously, the international community cannot tolerate any deliberate actions to damage critical infrastructure,” Mr Wood said.

Britain's UN deputy ambassador, James Kariuki, said it was clear during Security Council negotiations that Russia "is not serious about an impartial investigation".

"Last month, the Russian permanent representative claimed Russia already knew with a high degree of certainty who blew up the pipelines and how," he said.

This month, in a letter to the Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Russia complained that it had not been updated on progress of the Nord Stream probe.

Moscow accused the three European countries and complained that it was barred from examining evidence gathered from the sites where the blasts occurred.

Denmark and Sweden have given procedural matters and national regulations as the reason why they are not collaborating with Russia.

The UAE’s ambassador to the UN, Lana Nusseibeh, who abstained on the draft resolution, underscored the importance on Monday of the national investigations of Denmark, Germany and Sweden, and urged “transparency in sharing their findings with the relevant actors".

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 — underwater pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe under the Baltic Sea — explosions are believed to be the “act of sabotage” according to the European states, because of the sophistication with which the perpetrators planted and detonated the explosives on the Baltic Sea floor without being detected.

Responsibility for the blasts has still not been determined.

Updated: March 27, 2023, 11:19 PM

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