European countries say they will ramp up security around oil and gas installations after the suspected sabotage of two major pipelines.
The EU, US and Nato have suggested damage to the pipelines between Russia and Germany was deliberate, but have not blamed Russia directly.
Russia has said it was not involved, and asked if the US was instead.
Russia has previously been accused of using gas supplies as a weapon against the West over its support for Ukraine.
The leaks on the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines were discovered on Monday and Tuesday.
Neither pipeline was operating at the time, as the Nord Stream 2 project was abandoned when Russia invaded Ukraine, and Russia shut down Nord Stream 1 in September, citing a need for maintenance.
But both pipelines were still full of gas, which bubbled to the surface in an area a kilometre wide on the sea’s surface.
What Tucker Carlson Said:
Speaking following reports of leaks in the Nord Stream pipeline on Tuesday, Mr Carlson suggested that the Biden administration was behind the “sabotage” and act of “environmental terrorism” and warned of a Russian counter-response.
“Blow up the Nord Stream pipelines? OK, we’ve entered a new phase, one in which the United States is directly at war with the largest nuclear power in the world,” said the Fox News anchor.
While the US has not designated the leaks as an act of sabotage, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said the leaks were the result of acts of “sabotage” on the critical piece of energy infrastructure on Tuesday.
Finland, Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom – as well as Russia itself – cited a deliberate attack on the pipeline that prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, supplied Europe with millions of cubic metres of gas annually. Now, that figure is effectively zero.
Citing US opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline connecting Russia and Germany, Mr Carlson suggested that the US president had pre-warned of an attack on the pipeline by playing a clip from a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in February.
Speaking two weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mr Biden said “there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2 … We will bring an end to it”, if Russia did invade and when asked by a reporter how the US could “end” the pipeline, responded, “I promise you, we will be able to do it.”
The Fox News host, who said he did not believe Russia was responsible for the leaks, added: “Notice how he phrased that. He didn’t say, ‘I will pause the delivery of gas from Russia to Germany.’ He said there won’t be a Nord Stream 2. We’ll put an end to it. We’ll take it out. We’ll blow it up.”
He continued: “If you are Vladimir Putin you would have to be a suicidal moron to blow up your own energy pipeline—that’s one thing you would never do…Natural gas pipelines are the main source of your power and wealth. And most critically, your leverage over other countries.”
In the UK, defence sources told The Times that the most likely cause of the leaks were a Russian drone used to detonate holes in the pipes, which are now leaking gas into the Baltic Sea. That remains to be confirmed however.
What Putin Said:
The Kremlin on Wednesday said claims that Russia was somehow behind a possible attack on the Nord Stream gas pipelines were stupid, adding that the United States had opposed the pipelines and its companies had made big profits supplying gas to Europe.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a daily conference call with reporters that the incident needed to be investigated and the timings for repair of the damaged pipelines were not clear.
Asked about claims Russia might be behind the possible attack, Peskov said: “That’s quite predictable and also predictably stupid.”
“This is a big problem for us because, firstly, both lines of Nord Stream 2 are filled with gas – the entire system is ready to pump gas and the gas is very expensive… Now the gas is flying off into the air.”
“Are we interested in that? No, we are not, we have lost a route for gas supplies to Europe,” Peskov said.
Despite the allegations that Russia was responsible for the blasts, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Monday that President Joe Biden has to answer whether the U.S. was responsible.
“US President Joe Biden must answer the question of whether the United States carried out its threat on September 25 and 26 when an emergency was reported at three lines of Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, which has been preliminarily recognized as ruptures, whereas he suggested those were blown up,” she said, according to Russian state news agency TASS.