‘Act Of Sabotage’: Europe Investigates Massive Leaks From Nord Stream Pipelines
European countries suspect sabotage on two major gas pipelines from Russia after discovering gas leaks at three separate locations in the Baltic Sea Tuesday, according to multiple reports.
Pressure on the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines used to deliver Russian gas to Germany dropped suddenly on Monday, and later on Tuesday the Swedish Maritime Administration detected multiple leaks in Swedish and Danish waters of the Baltic sea, according to The Wall Street Journal. The cause of the leaks remains unclear, but European countries suspect deliberate action against the energy infrastructure, which Russia has been accused of weaponizing against Europe.
“It is too early to conclude yet, but it is an extraordinary situation, there are three leaks, and therefore it is difficult to imagine that it could be accidental,” Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said, according to the WSJ.
Denmark, Germany and Poland suggested outside forces could have deliberately damaged the politically-fraught pipelines, according to Financial Times, though they didn’t identify any by name.
The Kremlin also called the incident an “an unprecedented situation requiring urgent investigation,” the WSJ reported, as videos of U.S. President Joe Biden’s pre-invasion threats in February to take down the second pipeline circulated social media.
“If Russia invades… again, then there will be longer Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it,” Biden said on Feb. 7 in a joint conference with German Chancellor Olaf Sholz, Reuters reported.
The Biden administration had reluctantly agreed to Germany’s deal with Russian energy giant Gazprom to build the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would allow the firm to double its export capacity to Europe and bypass transit authorities in Ukraine, according to Reuters. Berlin reversed course earlier in February in light of the imminent invasion, saying the country needed to “reassess” the security of its oil supply.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov said the damage could be attributed to sabotage, but no definitive statement could be made until the investigation concludes, the WSJ reported.
Attempts to speculate on the cause of the leaks are “premature,” European Commission spokesman Tim McPhie said Tuesday, according to Reuters. The commission would continue to monitor the leaks and work with member states to investigate the issue, he added.
Data from Sweden’s national seismology research center apparently showed powerful undersea seismic event near the areas where the pipelines traversed, according to Danish Broadcasting.
Swedish and Danish maritime officials issued navigational warnings for ships and aircraft in the region after discovering the leaks Monday.
The leaks should not affect European energy supply, as operator Nord Stream AG and Russia’s Gazprom PJSC had largely deactivated both pipelines from transporting gas to the continent. However, they contained gas under pressure, fueling the leak.
Nord Stream AG did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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