Image Source: Times of Israel
In what it called a “terrorist attack,” Ukraine has accused Russia of causing leaks in two significant Nord Stream gas pipelines that transport gas to Europe.
Mykhaylo Podolyak, a presidential adviser for Ukraine, called the destruction of Nord Stream 1 and 2 “an act of aggression” against the EU.
He went on to say that Russia aimed to spread fear before winter and urged the EU to give Ukraine more military support.
Before the leaks appeared, underwater bursts were noted by seismologists.
On Monday afternoon, the Nord Stream 2 operators warned about a loss of pressure in the pipeline. As a result, Danish authorities warned that ships should stay away from the area around the island of Bornholm.
The undersea lines simultaneously suffered “unprecedented” damage in a single day, according to Nord Stream 1’s operator.
Danish Defense Command has published the video of the leaks, which shows bubbles near the island at the surface of the Baltic Sea. It states that the greatest marine disturbance patch has a diameter of 1 km (0.6 miles).
The gas leak from NS-1 [Nord Stream 1] is nothing more than a terrorist strike planned by Russia and an act of aggression against the EU, according to a tweet from Mr. Podolyak of Ukraine. Russia intends to create economic instability in Europe and fear before the winter.
Additionally, he urged Germany and other European allies to step up their military assistance to Ukraine.
“Tanks are the best defense and security investment for Ukraine, particularly German ones, “said he.
Other European officials have brought up the possibility that pipeline damage was purposefully caused.
Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister of Poland, attributed it to sabotage and said it was likely related to the conflict in Ukraine.
Mette Frederiksen, the prime minister of Denmark, said it was too soon to draw any conclusions but that it was difficult to think that the numerous leaks could be a coincidence.
At the same time, unconfirmed allegations in German media said that officials had not ruled out an attack on the undersea gas network.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, expressed his “great concern” over the incident and said it was impossible to rule out the potential of a planned attack.
In reaction to European sanctions put in place as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU has previously accused Russia of using a decrease in gas supplies as an economic weapon.
Moscow disputes this, claiming that it is now difficult to maintain the gas infrastructure properly due to the sanctions.
Whatever the origin of the damage, since neither pipeline was in use, it will not immediately impair the delivery of gas to Europe.
The status of the Nord Stream pipelines
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline comprises two parallel branches, hasn’t moved any gas since Russia shut it down in August for upkeep.
It reaches north-eastern Germany and the Russian shore near St. Petersburg across a distance of 745 miles (1,200 km) beneath the Baltic Sea. Following the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, its twin pipeline, Nord Stream 2, was shut down.
Both pipelines still have gas in them even though neither is in use.
Authorities from Germany, Denmark, and Sweden are all looking into the incidents.
The leak could last for several days or even a week; the Danish energy regulator warned the Reuters news agency.
Operators of the pipeline, Nord Stream AG, stated that it was hard to predict when the infrastructure would be repaired.
Since Moscow invaded Ukraine, energy prices have increased sharply, and dwindling supplies could cause prices to rise even more.
Families in the EU are being increasingly worried that they won’t be able to afford the cost of heating this winter.
With the opening of a new pipeline, Poland is taking the lead in the push to reduce dependency on Russia, once Europe’s primary energy supply.
The Baltic Pipe will be a new route for Norwegian gas to reach Europe, opening up access to it for nations south of Poland like Slovakia and the Czech Republic.