Ukraine has accused Russia of carrying out a “terrorist attack” by causing leaks in two major gas pipelines to Europe.
Mykhaylo Podolyak, the Ukrainian presidential adviser, called the damage to Nord Stream 1 and 2 an “act of aggression” against the EU. He went on to say that Russia wanted to create pre-winter panic and urged the EU to increase military aid to Ukraine. Before the leaks were discovered, seismologists reported underwater blasts.
According to local media, “there is no doubt that these were explosions.”
On Monday afternoon, Nord Stream 2’s operators issued a warning about a loss of pressure in the pipeline. Danish authorities issued a warning to ships to avoid the area near the island of Bornholm.
The operator of Nord Stream 1 stated that the undersea lines had suffered “unprecedented” damage in a single day.
Denmark’s Defence Command released a video of the leaks, showing bubbles on the Baltic Sea’s surface near the island.
According to the report, the largest patch of sea disturbance is 1km (0.6 miles) in diameter.
“The gas leak from NS-1 [North Stream 1] is a terrorist attack planned by Russia and an act of aggression against the EU. Russia wishes to destabilize the European economy and cause a pre-winter panic, “Mr. Podolyak of Ukraine tweeted in English.
He also urged European partners, particularly Germany, to boost military aid to Ukraine.
“Tanks are the best response and security investment for Ukraine. Especially those from Germany, “He stated.
Other European leaders have speculated that the pipeline damage was done on purpose.
Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister of Poland, attributed it to sabotage and asserted that the conflict in Ukraine was likely a factor.
Mette Frederiksen, Denmark’s Prime Minister, said it was too early to draw conclusions, but it was difficult to believe the multiple leaks were a coincidence. Simultaneously, unconfirmed reports in German media claimed that authorities were not ruling out an attack on the undersea gas network.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, said he was “extremely concerned” about the incident and that the possibility of a deliberate attack could not be ruled out.
The EU has previously accused Russia of using gas supply cuts as an economic weapon in response to European sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
However, Moscow denies this, claiming that the sanctions have made proper maintenance of the gas infrastructure impossible.
Whatever caused the damage, it will not immediately impact the gas supply to Europe because neither pipeline was operational.
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline consists of two parallel branches, has been idle since August when Russia shut it down for maintenance.
It runs 745 miles (1,200 kilometers) beneath the Baltic Sea from the Russian coast near St. Petersburg to north-eastern Germany. Its twin pipeline, Nord Stream 2, was shut down after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine.
Despite the fact that neither pipeline is in use, they both contain gas.
Authorities are investigating the incidents in Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. The Danish energy authority told the Reuters news agency that the leak could last several days, if not a week.
Nord Stream AG, the pipeline’s operators, stated that it was impossible to predict when the system’s infrastructure would be restored. Energy prices have skyrocketed since Moscow invaded Ukraine, and scarcity of supplies could drive them even higher.
There are growing concerns that European families will be unable to afford the cost of heating this winter.
With the opening of a new gas pipeline, Poland is taking the lead in reducing Europe’s reliance on Russia, which was once the continent’s primary energy supplier.
The Baltic Pipe will be a new link for Norwegian gas to Europe, allowing countries south of Poland to access it, including Slovakia and the Czech Republic.