Russian dictator Vladimir Putin denied claims that Russia played a role in damaging an underwater gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia, Reuters reported on Oct. 13.
Putin told reporters in Kyrgyzstan that the notion was "complete rubbish" and said he did not even know the pipeline existed. He also suggested the damage could have been caused by an earthquake.
On Oct. 10, the Finnish government announced that the pipeline and a nearby telecommunications cable had been damaged in what appeared to be a deliberate act of sabotage.
Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said the leaks in the pipeline “could not have occurred as a result of normal use of the pipe or pressure fluctuations."
Finland and Estonia launched a joint investigation into the incident, with support from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Putin claimed that suggestions of Russian involvement were a ploy "to distract attention from the terrorist attack carried out by the West against Nord Stream."
In September 2022, large blasts caused four major leaks at Russia's Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea. A Swedish investigation concluded that the damage was a result of sabotage.
The Nord Stream piplines were built to supply natural gas from Russia to Europe.
Russia blamed the United States and United Kingdom for the attacks, though it could not provide evidence to substantiate these claims.
Sweden's investigation into the Nord Stream attacks remains ongoing. Investigators say they hope to reach a conclusion by the end of the year.