Pipeline incidents ‘are the result of a deliberate act’, EU foreign minister says
Gas leaks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines »are no coincidence“, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Wednesday, adding that Brussels would support any investigation”aimed at achieving complete clarity.”
“All available information indicates that these leaks are the result of a deliberate act“, he said in a statement, without specifying who could be behind them.
Such incidents affect the whole of the EU, he added, promising “take further steps to increase our energy security resilience.”
“Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is completely unacceptable and will be met with a strong and united responseBorrell warned.
His comments come after Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said the leaks may have been caused by sabotage, with an investigation into the matter still ongoing.
“Gas leak from Nord Stream 1 & 2 in [Swedish and Danish] the exclusive economic zones are the consequences of detonations, probably due to 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 has not initiated any contact with Moscow, although the pipelines are owned by Russian energy giant Gazprom. While at the same time, Sweden discussed the issue with Germany, NATO and Denmark.
The two Nord Stream gas 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, the Danish authorities closed the area to shipping.
Meanwhile, according to German media, Berlin investigated the leaks as a deliberate attack, carried out either by pro-Ukrainian forces or by Russia itself as part of a possible false flag operation to give a bad image of kyiv. It could also drive up energy prices even further and worsen the energy crisis in Europe.
The Kremlin, however, signaled that it was very concerned about the incident and called for an immediate and thorough investigation into the matter, adding that it would affect the energy situation on the “the whole continent.”
Nord Stream 1 has been in service since 2011 but has been operating at reduced capacity since late August, with Russia citing technical difficulties caused by Western sanctions.
Construction of Nord Stream 2 began in 2018, but faced delays due to political pressure and sanctions from the United States. It was completed and pressurized in September 2021; however, two days before the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, the German government suspended its certification indefinitely, refusing to unblock the pipeline.