Moscow may seek compensation for the damage to the Nord Stream gas pipelines from two explosions last September, but the future of the projects is unclear, according to a Russian diplomat cited by the news agency RIA Novosti.
The pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, were ruptured by unexplained blasts that Moscow called an act of international terrorism. "We do not rule out later raising the issue of compensation for damage as a result of the explosion," Dmitry Birichevsky, head of the Foreign Ministry's department for economic cooperation, said in an interview with RIA.
He did not say who Russia would seek damages from. The two pipelines had a combined capacity of 110 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year, more than the 101 bcm that Russia exported outside the former Soviet Union in 2022.
Birichevsky said the future of the pipelines was not clear. "At the moment, it's very difficult to speak about the future of the Nord Stream pipeline system. On the whole, according to experts, the damaged lines could be restored," he said.
The Kremlin has said it is for all shareholders to decide whether the two pipelines, each consisting of two pipes, should be mothballed. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would establish who was behind the blasts before claiming any compensation.
"For now, the data indicates that such a large-scale act of sabotage and a terrorist attack against critical infrastructure could not have been carried out without the participation of the state and special state services," he said.
"You see that Western countries are taking all possible measures to cover up this issue ... But Russia will do everything possible to prevent this from happening."
Sources familiar with the plans told Reuters last week that the pipelines, built by Russia's state-controlled Gazprom, would be sealed up and mothballed as there were no immediate plans to repair or reactivate them. Nord Stream 1 opened in November 2011, having cost 7.4 billion euros ($8 billion).
Construction of the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 was completed in September 2021, but it never came onstream before Germany froze the project as Russia was about to send troops into Ukraine in February 2022.
Birichevsky said Western countries were opposing a U.N. Security Council resolution drafted by Russia urging an independent international investigation. "Despite this, we intend to continue to insist on a comprehensive and open international investigation with the mandatory participation of Russian representatives."
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(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Jamie Freed, Alex Richardson and Kevin Liffey)