Putin says Germany remains “occupied”.

March 14 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Germany’s response to the explosion of pipelines in the North Sea showed that the country remained “occupied” decades after its surrender at the end of World War II and was incapable of independent to act.

Putin, interviewed on Russian television, also said that European leaders were dumbfounded to lose their sense of sovereignty and independence.

Western countries, including Germany, have reacted cautiously to investigations into the explosions that hit Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipelines last year.

“The matter is that European politicians themselves have said publicly that Germany has never been a fully sovereign state after World War II,” Russian news agencies quoted Putin as saying to state broadcaster Rossiya-1.

“The Soviet Union at one point withdrew its troops and ended what amounted to an occupation of the country. But, as we know, that was not the case with the Americans. They continue to occupy Germany.”

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Putin told the interviewer that the blasts were carried out at the “state level” and were dismissed as “utter nonsense”, suggesting that an autonomous pro-Ukrainian group was responsible.

The pipelines were intended to bring Russian gas to Germany, although Berlin has taken steps to reduce its dependence on Russian hydrocarbons since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago.

Leaders in Berlin have been cautious about assigning blame for the explosions, with Defense Minister Boris Pistorius last week saying the blasts were a “false flag operation to blame Ukraine”.

Reporting by Ron Popeski; Edited by Angus MacSwan

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