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The NATO alliance released a joint statement on Thursday calling the Nord Stream pipeline leaks a “deliberate and reckless” act of sabotage and called for an investigation.
The NATO statement came hours after a fourth leak was discovered on Thursday along the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipeline systems. The first three leaks all occurred and were discovered within 24 hours on Tuesday.
“The damage caused to the Nordstream 1 and Nordstream 2 pipelines in the international waters of the Baltic Sea is of great concern,” NATO wrote in a statement. “All information currently available indicates that this is the result of deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage.”
“These leaks cause significant navigational hazards and environmental damage,” the statement continued. “We support the ongoing investigations to determine the origin of the damage.”
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The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipeline networks lie at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Two of the four leaks were discovered in Sweden’s Exclusive Economic Zone, while the other two were in Danish waters. Sweden discovered one hole in its NS1 pipes and the other hole in its NS2 pipes. Denmark experienced the same thing.
Seismologists say they recorded explosions near pipelines before the leaks.
NORTH STREAM PIPELINE EXPLOSIONS WERE LIKELY FROM EXPLOSIONS, NOT EARTHQUAKES, SEISMOLOGIST SAYS
None of the pipeline systems were in service at the time of the explosions. NS1 had been operating at just 20% capacity since July and ceased service altogether at the end of August. Operators said international sanctions against Russia had made maintenance impossible.
NS 2, meanwhile, never entered official service because Germany refused to certify its completion last year. The project was completely halted days before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Accusations have circulated across Europe and the world following the leaks, with Ukraine claiming Russia is to blame. Moscow dismissed the charge on Wednesday.
“It’s utterly predictable and also predictably stupid to give voice to these kinds of stories — predictably stupid and nonsensical,” Peskov said. “It’s a big problem for us because, firstly, the two pipes of the Nord Stream 2 are full of gas – the whole system is ready to pump gas and the gas is very expensive… Now the gas is flying away in the air. “
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“Are we interested? No, we are not, we have lost a gas supply route to Europe,” he continued.