washington – European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Wednesday that all indications are that leaks from two Nord Stream natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea “are the result of a deliberate act.”
“We will support any investigation aimed at getting to the bottom of what happened and why, and will take further steps to increase our energy security resilience,” Borrell said in a statement. “Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is completely unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response.”
The US State Department said late Tuesday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the situation with Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod and that the US “remains united with our allies and partners in our commitment to advancing European energy security.”
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan tweeted that the US supports efforts to investigate the apparent sabotage.
Danish Defense Minister Morten Bodskov will discuss the issue with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Wednesday.
“I’m not going to speculate on the reason” for the leaks, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to questions about the incident Tuesday, adding that she had nothing to report on whether the United States had been asked by European officials. to help determine the cause of the stretch marks.
“An Act of Sabotage”
The 1,222 kilometer Nord Stream 1 pipeline has until recently been an important source of gas for Germany. Nord Stream 2, which is 1,234 kilometers long, has not yet entered commercial operation.
“We have drawn up a report and the crime classification is gross sabotage,” the Swedish National Police said on Tuesday, announcing a preliminary investigation into possible sabotage of Nord Stream 1.
“There are three leaks, so it’s hard to imagine that it could be accidental,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Tuesday.
“We clearly see that this is sabotage – an act that likely means another step of escalation of the situation in Ukraine,” agreed Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Frederkisen and Morawiecki were speaking in Gloeniow, Poland, at the opening ceremony of the Baltic Pipe, part of a Polish plan to reduce its energy dependence on Russia. The line will connect Poland to Norwegian gas fields through Denmark.
“No option can be ruled out right now,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of the possibility of sabotage, adding that the leaks are cause for concern.
Russia Shuts Key Pipeline, Burns Off Gas As West Accuses Putin of Weapons Force
Russia shut down Nord Stream 1 earlier this month, ostensibly for maintenance work.
The majority owner of the grid’s operator, Nord Stream AG, is Gazprom, a Russian state energy company.
“The destruction that occurred on the same day simultaneously on three strands of the offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented,” NordStream AG said in a statement. “It is not yet possible to estimate the timing of the restoration of the gas. transport infrastructure.”
– The biggest leak is that bubbles spread over a kilometer in diameter. The smallest creates a circle about 200 meters in diameter, according to a statement from the Danish Defense Forces, which included photographs of the leaks off the island of Bornholm.
Powerful explosions recorded on Monday
Scientists in Europe say seismographs on Monday recorded powerful explosions in the Baltic Sea, the same day the two gas pipelines decompressed.
“It was a spike and then normal noise,” said Josef Zens, spokesman for the German Geological Research Center GFZ. “We can’t say if it could be gas coming out.”
“Once is coincidence. Twice is coincidence. Third time is enemy action,” wrote Bloomberg Opinion columnist Javier Blas, quoting the late British author Ian Fleming.
“The leaks are more likely a message: Russia is opening a new front in its energy war against Europe. First, it weaponized the gas supply, stopping supplies, including through the Nord Stream pipeline. Now it can attack the energy infrastructure it once used to send its energy” , says Blas, author of The World for Sale: Money, Power and the Traders Who Trade the Earth’s Resources.
In UN, Spotlight on Global Consequences of Russia’s War
Amid much speculation on social media about who may have sabotaged Nord Stream, there is no credible evidence of a likely perpetrator or motive. Analysts and amateurs on Twitter claim that the Russians may have deployed divers or unmanned submersible vehicles to puncture the pipelines.
The leaks are a result of a “terrorist attack” and “an act of aggression” against the EU, explained Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office.
Some anonymous accounts on Twitter, which went after Russian state media, tried to blame Washington and Kyiv. On social media on Tuesday, a video from early February of Joe Biden promising to “put an end” to the Nord Stream 2 project if Russia invaded Ukraine was recirculated.
The Kremlin has said that if Western Europe wants Russian gas, it should end sanctions against Moscow imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine seven months ago.
“I understand that the leaks will not have a significant impact on Europe’s energy resilience,” Secretary Blinken said in Washington.
“This only underscores the importance of our efforts to work together to bring alternative gas supplies to Europe and to support efforts to reduce gas consumption and accelerate true energy independence by transitioning to a clean energy economy,” a White House National Security Council spokesperson said. VOA.
While the consequences for Europe ahead of winter as a result of the loss of the pipelines remain to be seen, the trio of leaks pose an immediate danger to wildlife and shipping.
The gas can suffocate animals and is an explosive threat to passing ships, according to environmental groups.
Contributors include Patsy Widakuswara of the White House; Nike Ching at the State Department and Chris Hannas in Washington. Some information in this report came from Reuters.