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Russia wants UN Security Council to ask for NordStream blast inquiry

FILE PHOTO: Pipes for the NordStream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea, which are not used, are seen in the harbour of Mukran, Germany, on September 30, 2022. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

Russia wants the United Nations Security Council to ask for an independent inquiry into September attacks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines, connecting Russia and Germany, that spewed gas into the Baltic Sea.

Russia gave the 15-member council a draft resolution on Friday, seen by Reuters, which would ask U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to establish an international investigation into the "sabotage" and identify who was to blame.

Russia's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said the aim was to put the text to a vote within a week. A council resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, China or Russia to pass.

This means a vote could coincide with meetings of the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council to mark the first anniversary of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. The 193-member General Assembly is likely to vote on Thursday to again demand Moscow withdraw its troops and call for a halt to hostilities.

Sweden and Denmark, in whose exclusive economic zones the attacks on the NordStream pipelines occurred, have concluded the pipelines were blown up deliberately, but have not said who might be responsible.

The United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have called the incident "an act of sabotage." Moscow has blamed the West. Neither side has provided evidence.

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1970, wrote last week - citing an unidentified source - that U.S. Navy divers had destroyed the pipelines with explosives on the orders of President Joe Biden.

The White House has dismissed the allegations as "utterly false and complete fiction."

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols)

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