Fact check: No, Antony Blinken did not say U.S. responsible for Nord Stream leaks
The claim: Antony Blinken confessed the U.S. was responsible for the Nord Stream gas leaks
European officials suspect sabotage was the cause of leaks found in late September in two underwater pipelines that carry natural gas from Russia to Germany, but multiple investigations to determine what happened are ongoing.
Many suspect the leaks, which were preceded by two explosions, were the result of an attack carried out at a time of heightened global tension over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But if that’s the case, it remains unclear who is responsible.
A video that has been widely viewed on Facebook, though, claims Secretary of State Antony Blinken has already admitted that the U.S. and President Joe Biden were behind the incident.
“Blinken confesses that Biden did it,” reads the caption of the Oct. 4 video, which was shared nearly 400 times in seven days.
The four-minute video says “there are theories floating around that the U.S. is to blame” for the damage to the Nord Stream pipelines and claims recent statements by Blinken “solidify these theories.”
But the claim is false. Blinken talked about the situation at a Sept. 30 press conference, but never indicated the U.S. was responsible for the leaks.
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USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the claim for comment.
Blinken: U.S. will 'determine who was responsible' for pipeline leaks
Blinken, who spoke at the press conference alongside Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly, said the U.S. has been supporting the investigation and is “working to be able to determine who was responsible.”
Blinken denounced what he called an "absurd allegation” made by Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.S. and its allies were responsible for the incident.
“We will get to the bottom of what happened,” Blinken said.
Blinken also described the situation as a “tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy” and “take away from (Putin) the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs.”
In response to a USA TODAY inquiry, the State Department said the U.S. was not responsible for the pipeline leaks.
"Any suggestion the United States was involved with this is ridiculous and has no basis in fact," a State Department spokesperson told USA TODAY in an emailed statement. "We all know Russia has a long history of spreading disinformation and is doing it again here."
Biden has also denied the U.S. was responsible for the leaks, calling them a "deliberate act of sabotage," and promising to send divers to examine the pipeline to "find out exactly what happened," Bloomberg reported.
PolitiFact also debunked the claim.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Blinken admitted the U.S. was responsible for the Nord Stream gas pipeline leaks. Blinken discussed the situation at a press conference, but did not confess the U.S. was behind it. He called allegations that the U.S. was responsible "absurd."
Our fact-check sources:
U.S. State Department spokesperson, Oct. 12, Emailed statement USA TODAY
U.S. Department of State, Sept. 30, Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly At a Joint Press Availability
PolitiFact, Oct. 6, No, Blinken didn’t say Biden is responsible for Nord Stream leaks
USA TODAY, Sept. 28, EU officials suspect sabotage after mysterious Nord Stream gas pipeline leaks
CNBC, Oct. 11, All you need to know about the Nord Stream gas leaks — and why Europe suspects ‘gross sabotage’
The New York Times, Sept. 28, Sabotaged Pipelines and a Mystery: Who Did It? (Was It Russia?)
The New York Times, Sept. 28, Mysterious Blasts and Gas Leaks: What We Know About the Pipeline Breaks in Europe
The Associated Press, Sept. 27, Blasts precede Baltic pipeline leaks, sabotage seen likely
Bloomberg, Sept. 30, Biden Says Nord Stream Leak Was ‘Deliberate Act of Sabotage’
Bloomberg, Oct. 12, Putin Says All Infrastructure at Risk After Nord Stream Hit
Newsweek, Oct. 10, Germany, Sweden Will Investigate Nord Stream Pipeline Blasts Without Russia
USA TODAY, Oct. 12, Biden's 'Armageddon' nuclear warning builds on increasing worries about a desperate Putin
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: No, Blinken did not say U.S. was behind Nord Stream leaks