Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have spoken of several attempts by Kiev to attack TurkStream and Blue Stream. Two pipelines cross the Black Sea. Russia supplies them to Türkiye. In addition, the TurkStream pipeline also brings gas to Hungary via Bulgaria and Serbia. An explosion would have far-reaching consequences for Belgrade and Budapest.
Putin first made the accusations against Kiev at a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi. However, Russian ships will protect the system. Putin said they were “persistently attacked, including by drones” when flying from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. He did not give any details.
Moscow’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu cited Ukraine’s drone attacks as the reason for Ukraine’s withdrawal from a grain agreement to send Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea. Originally, as part of the Black Sea Initiative, it was agreed that Ukrainian ports would not be used for attacks on Russian infrastructure. “All of this was violated,” Shoigu said. Last week alone, seven Ukrainian surface drones were destroyed, he said. The information cannot be independently verified.
Foreign Minister Lavrov reiterated the allegations at a meeting at the Russian Embassy in Bangladesh. Russia has information that an attempt is being made to blow up the TurkStream and Blue Stream gas pipelines in the Black Sea, Russia’s top diplomat said.
That’s why Russia will not allow Ukraine to “pass through the humanitarian corridors that were used to launch these drones to attack not only our warships but also civilian ships,” the foreign minister said. He was referring, among other things, to warships currently patrolling the TurkStream and Blue Stream pipeline routes. “We are patrolling these areas in the Black Sea because there is information that attempts are also being made to blow them up, just as the Nord Stream pipelines were blown up,” he said.
Lavrov also complained that “no one is conducting a normal investigation” into the sabotage of Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipelines, as the investigation is allegedly being conducted by national authorities. “There is no information,” he insisted.
Conversely, Ukraine accuses Russia of terrorism against its ports and civilian infrastructure. Russian forces have repeatedly attacked Ukrainian Black Sea ports in recent weeks, claiming they have military targets in their sights. At the same time, secret services in Kiev have admitted to using drones against Russian targets.
Russia allowed the grain agreement to expire in July. Security guarantees for shipping traffic with Ukrainian ports have been cancelled. This started a new naval blockade. Earlier, despite the Russian aggression, Ukraine, an agricultural country, had exported about 33 million tonnes of grain and other agricultural products by sea from summer 2022. The war-torn country is in urgent need of export revenue.