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28 Sep, 2022 08:09

Nord Stream leaks ‘not a coincidence’ – EU

The pipeline incidents “are the result of a deliberate act,” the diplomat insisted
Mary Altaffer

The gas leaks at the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines “are not a coincidence,” EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell said on Wednesday, adding that Brussels would support any investigation “aimed at getting full clarity.”

All available information indicates those leaks are the result of a deliberate act,” he said in a statement, without specifying who may be behind them.

Such incidents affect the entire EU, he added, vowing “to take further steps to increase our resilience in energy security.”

Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response,” Borrell warned.

His comments come after Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde indicated that the leaks could have been caused by sabotage, with an investigation into the matter still underway.

Gas leaking from Nord Stream 1 & 2 in [Swedish and Danish] exclusive economic zones are consequences of detonations, probably caused by sabotage. We continue to collect information and do not rule out any cause, actor or motive,” she wrote on Twitter.

Commenting on the leaks at a press conference she also noted that Stockholm didn’t initiate any contact with Moscow, despite the pipelines being owned by Russian energy giant Gazprom. While at the same time, Sweden has discussed the matter with Germany, NATO and Denmark.

Both Nord Stream pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany under the Black Sea, lost pressure on Monday, with a massive gas leak detected near the island of Bornholm. Following the incident, Danish authorities closed the area to navigation.

Meanwhile, according to German media, Berlin has been investigating the leaks as a deliberate attack, carried out either by pro-Ukrainian forces or Russia itself in a possible false flag operation to make Kiev look bad. It could also drive energy prices even higher, and exacerbate the energy crunch in Europe.

The Kremlin, however, signaled that it was very concerned by the incident and called for an immediate and thorough investigation into the matter, adding that it would affect the energy situation on the “entire continent.”

Nord Stream 1 has been in service since 2011, but has been operating at a reduced capacity since the end of August, with Russia citing technical difficulties caused by Western sanctions.

Construction of Nord Stream 2 began in 2018, but it suffered delays due to political pressure and sanctions from the US. It was finished and pressurized in September 2021; however, two days prior to the start of Russian military operation in Ukraine, the German government put its certification on indefinite hold, refusing to unblock the pipeline.