EU foreign policy chief Borrell: “All available information indicates that these leaks are the result of a deliberate act.”
The European Union believes that multiple leaks in the Russian deep-sea pipelines were caused by sabotage, German newspapers reported Wednesday.
“The cause of the leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines is still unclear, but more and more countries suspect sabotage,” the German state broadcaster Tagesschau reported Wednesday. “The European Union also views ‘deliberate action’ as the reason and is threatening countermeasures,” the broadcaster added.
On Tuesday, the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines — running from the Russian mainland to Western Europe underneath the Baltic Sea — began leaking at three locations off the Danish island of Bornholm. The pipelines belong to the Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom.
Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reported the EU’s reaction:
“All available information indicates that these leaks are the result of a deliberate act,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Wednesday on behalf of the 27 member states. Any intentional disruption to Europe’s energy infrastructure will “be met with a robust and collective response.”
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had earlier threatened possible perpetrators with harsh consequences. “Any intentional disruption of active European energy infrastructure is unacceptable and will result in the strongest possible response,” von der Leyen tweeted late Tuesday night.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also saw the incident as sabotage. “Stoltenberg has described the three leaks found in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea as ‘sabotage,'” the German news agency DPA reported Wednesday.
— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) September 28, 2022
Underwater blasts possibly caused the multiple leaks, the seismographic data collected by the Swedish and Danish authorities suggest. “Denmark believes ‘deliberate actions’ caused big leaks in two natural gas pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, and seismologists said powerful explosions preceded the leaks,” The Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Neither of the pipelines was active at the time of the suspected blasts. Germany froze Nord Stream 2, a multi-billion project nearing completion, just days ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In early September, Russia closed down Nord Stream 1, the critical remaining gas pipeline to Europe, citing maintenance issues caused by Western sanctions.
Russian reports suggest that both pipelines were filled with gas when the underwater leaks began.
“This is a big problem for us because, firstly, both lines of Nord Stream 2 are filled with gas – the entire system is ready to pump gas and the gas is very expensive,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday. “Now the gas is flying off into the air. ”
The incident occurred less than two weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Europeans to open the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would mean a significant rollback of Western sanctions against Russia.
Whatever the real cause behind the pipeline damage, Europe — particularly Germany — will sink deeper into the energy crisis as the Russian supply network is disrupted.
Cities across Germany are already witnessing weekly protests as thousands take to the streets against soaring gas and electricity bills. Earlier this month, the German government issued an emergency ordinance seeking to reduce and ration energy consumption by industry, businesses, and households. German police are gearing up for a “state of emergency,” fearing mass riots and violent protests in the wake of possible blackouts this winter, German newspapers reported recently.DONATE
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