NATO and the European Union have declared that leaks in two major Russian underwater pipelines built to transport natural gas to Germany resulted from “sabotage” and have committed to take serious steps to preserve crucial European infrastructure.
“All currently available information indicates that this is the result of deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible acts of sabotage. These leaks are causing risks to shipping and substantial environmental damage,” NATO ambassadors said.
Danish Defense Minister Morten Bodskov described NATO’s statement as a “joint condemnation and extremely strong signal from the alliance” in a tweet.
The Swedish Coast Guard confirmed the fourth leak from the Nord Stream pipelines, which transport gas from Russia to Germany, off the coast of southern Sweden on Thursday.
“We have leakage at two locations off the coast of Sweden,” according to coast guard spokesperson Mattias Lindholm. He claims there are two more off the coast of Denmark.
Following a series of odd leaks on two natural gas pipelines flowing from Russia under the Baltic Sea to Germany, a massive disturbance in the sea can be seen off the shore of the Danish island of Bornholm on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, raising worries about suspected sabotage. After discovering three leaks on Nord Stream 1 and 2, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says she “cannot rule out” sabotage.
Two leaks are on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which has recently stopped providing gas, while the other two are on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which has never been operational. Even though they were not in use, both pipelines were packed with gas, which had escaped and bubbled to the surface.
The governments of Denmark and Sweden believe that the leaks from their countries were “deliberate actions.”
Explosions were recorded before the leaks were disclosed. Seismologists observed the first explosion early Monday southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm. That night, a second, bigger blast northeast of the island was equivalent to a magnitude 2.3 earthquake. The explosions were also detected by Denmark, Norway, and Finland seismic stations.
Some European officials and energy analysts believe Russia is to blame for sabotage since it directly benefits from rising energy prices and economic worry across Europe. Still, others advise caution until investigators can determine what happened.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson stated that the damage would have required a major explosive device before the fourth leak was detected.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, said Thursday that the Nord Stream pipeline catastrophe would have been impossible without the involvement of a state operator.
“It looks like a terror attack, probably conducted on a state level,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.
“Judging by the amount of destruction of the Nord Stream, it’s hard to imagine that such action could have been taken without a state involvement,” Peskov said. “It’s a very dangerous situation that requires a quick investigation.”