The U.S. And Its Allies Are Not Reliable Trade Partners, Says Russia’s FM

Sergey Lavrov

Russia no longer perceives the U.S. and its allies as reliable trade partners and will not allow itself to be dependent on them, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a conference in India on Friday.

“We will not rely on any partner in the West anymore. We will not allow them to blow up the pipelines again,” he said in response to a question about Russian energy policy.

Lavrov was referring to the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea. They were heavily damaged by explosions in late September, an act that Moscow maintains significantly benefited the U.S.

Sergey Lavrov spoke at the international Raisina Dialogue forum in New Delhi, where he arrived earlier to participate in the G20 ministerial council and hold bilateral talks with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

Washington has long criticized its European allies for their dependence on cheap Russian energy. American producers of liquefied natural gas grabbed a large portion of the European energy market after the EU decided to phase out Russian supplies in the wake of the Ukraine conflict.

European investigators reportedly failed to find any evidence that would pin the incident on Russia, even though Russian culpability was the predominant narrative in the Western media after the explosions. U.S. investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, citing an anonymous source, reported last month that the sabotage was a clandestine U.S.-Norwegian operation. Both nations dismissed the allegation.

Lavrov assessed that “Germany was humiliated” by the situation, including by the reaction to Hersh’s report in Europe. He argued that the goal of the crisis was to “reduce Europe” to being a subordinate of the U.S., to “undercut Europe’s competitive edge” and to “ruin the economic link” between the EU and Russia. Moscow has other markets to which it can offer its products, he added.

“We will be oriented to reliable partners, credible partners – India, China are certainly among them,” Lavrov suggested.

The top Russian diplomat reiterated Moscow’s assertions that the Ukraine conflict was triggered by Western policies and explained that a peaceful resolution to the hostilities depended on Kiev’s overturning its own ban on negotiating with Russia.

“The war that we are trying to put an end to, and that was initiated against us using the Ukrainian people, of course, it has impacted Russian politics, including its energy policy. In short, what has changed is that we will no longer rely on any partners in the West,” Lavrov said.

Earlier, the Russian FM had expressed Russia’s “shock” over the lack of punishment for those who instigated the Nord Stream attack, reiterated Moscow’s insistence on a “fair and swift investigation,” and vowed that Russia would not allow an investigation into the terror attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines to be swept under the rug.

“You remember how the West reacted to the investigation into Nord Stream published by Seymour Hersh – their nervous reaction. They started saying it is nonsense and that they were not even going to discuss it. I think this makes everything clear. But we will do our best to make this investigation happen,” Russia’s top diplomat told at a press conference following the meeting of the G20 foreign ministers in New Delhi, India on March 2.

Hungary Calls For Justice Over Pipeline Sabotage

Hungary needs to watch out for potential sabotage on pipelines that deliver Russian natural gas to the country, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Monday, pointing to the September 2022 blasts on the Nord Stream pipelines connecting Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea.

“The blowing up of the Nord Stream was a simple act of terrorism,” Orban said in a speech to parliament in Budapest. “What we need to know is, if they did it in the north just to stop Russian gas coming to Europe, then they could do it in the south as well.”

Orban said that Hungary, together with neighboring Serbia, must “make clear that if this were to happen, it would not be easy to get away with, like they are doing now with the Nord Stream explosions.”

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto this week called for the UN to investigate the “scandalous” attack on the pipelines. Budapest wants to know “who committed it and why,” the minister said.

Hungary and Serbia, whose economies heavily depend on Russian oil and gas, have opposed sanctions that would have prevented them from receiving supplies from Moscow. Both nations have also refused to impose any restrictions of their own.

On Thursday, U.S. state-run news outlet RFE-RL reported that South Stream Transport, which operates the TurkStream gas pipeline, would not be able to repair the infrastructure in the event of damage, as the Dutch government has revoked its license.

The Black Sea pipeline delivers Russian gas to Hungary and Serbia.


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