Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Nord Stream Pipeline Attacks Called by Russia

John Kelley
Political Minister Counselor
New York, New York
February 21, 2023


Thank you, Mr. President, and we thank Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo for her briefing. We listened carefully to the other briefers today. We recognize their past history and service, though we question their relevant knowledge to speak as an expert briefer on the topic at hand.

Mr. President, the United States is deeply concerned by the sabotage that took place on Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines last September.  Deliberate actions to damage critical infrastructure cannot be tolerated.

But let’s be clear why we are really here in the Council today.  Later this week, as we near the one-year anniversary, the General Assembly will debate the impact of Russia’s illegal and full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Today’s meeting is a blatant attempt to distract from this. As the world unites this week to call for a just and secure peace in Ukraine consistent with the UN Charter, Russia desperately wants to change the subject.

This is not the first time that Russia has used its seat on this Council to amplify conspiracy theories from the internet. We wish it would apply the same urgency shown over the past three days instead to the myriad credible reports of human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law caused by its invading forces.

However, let me state clearly and plainly: Accusations that the United States was involved in this act of sabotage are completely false. The United States was not involved in any way.

Competent authorities in Denmark, Germany, and Sweden are investigating these incidents in a comprehensive, transparent, and impartial manner. Resources for UN investigations should be preserved for cases when states are unwilling or unable to investigate genuinely.

Let us not be fooled by Russia’s claim it only wants an “impartial” investigation. Its draft resolution clearly implicates the United States and mischaracterizes statements by U.S. officials. Russia does not seek an impartial investigation. It seeks to prejudice ongoing ones toward a predetermined conclusion of its choosing.

The expedited timeline on which the Russian delegation demanded we discuss this issue casts significant doubt on the seriousness of its intentions. The Nord Stream pipeline ruptures occurred five months ago.  Now, as we approach the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia claims it is urgent the Council discuss it this week.

Russia, yet again, is abusing its position as a permanent member of the Security Council by using this meeting as a platform for disinformation and conspiracy theories. It is regrettable that with everything else on the Council’s agenda this week – North Korean ballistic missiles, tensions in the Middle East, a humanitarian crisis in Turkey and Syria following devastating earthquakes – that Russia is again deliberately wasting this Council’s time.

Russia’s claim to be concerned over the sabotage of critical infrastructure rings hollow. For months, Russia has relentlessly attacked its neighbor, striking cities and towns across Ukraine, damaging and destroying residential areas and medical facilities. Russia’s attacks against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure have left families in Ukraine without heat and electricity during the coldest, darkest period of the year.

Later this week, countries will vote in the General Assembly on a resolution reaffirming the UN Charter and calling for an end to hostilities in Ukraine in a manner consistent with the Charter’s principles. This should be our priority. Instead of indulging conspiracy theories, we should focus on ways to diplomatically resolve this conflict in a way consistent with the UN Charter, and fully restore the territorial integrity of a UN Member State.

Thank you, Mr. President.