By Allie Malloy, CNN
President Joe Biden on Friday called the Nord Stream pipeline leaks a “deliberate act of sabotage” and accused Russia and President Vladimir Putin of “pumping out disinformation and lies,” though he did not directly accuse Moscow for the sabotage.
Biden said that the US is working with allies to “get to the bottom of exactly — precisely what happened” and he has already directed resources to help allies enhance protection of the pipeline.
“Let me say this, it was a deliberate act of sabotage and now the Russians are pumping out disinformation and lies,” Biden said, the first time he has described the incident as an act of sabotage.
At “the appropriate moment when things calm down, we’re gonna send the divers down to find out exactly what happened,” he said. “We don’t know that yet.”
Biden insisted that what Putin is saying about the accident is “not true.”
Western nations have said leaks in two Russian gas pipelines, Nord Stream 1 and 2, are likely the result of sabotage.
On Monday, leaks were discovered in the pipelines, prompting investigations by European authorities that determined powerful underwater explosions had occurred just before the pipelines burst in several places.
The pipelines were created to funnel gas from Russia into the European Union, and were controversial long before Russia waged war on Ukraine, largely because of fears around European reliance on Russian energy.
Earlier Friday, the US announced new sanctions, including a combination of export controls, visa restrictions and asset freezes, as part of an effort to further clamp down on Russian supply chains — and the individuals directing the efforts — critical to maintaining the war effort.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
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