What we know about suspected sabotage in the Baltic Sea

The Nordstream 1 and 2 gas pipelines linking Russia to Germany, disputed and out of service due to the war in Ukraine, were suddenly hit by unexplained leaks in the Baltic Sea, Danish and Swedish authorities announced on Tuesday, September 27, raising suspicions. nasty job.

Leaks were visible on the surface with bubbles ranging from 200 meters to 1,000 meters in diameter, the Danish military reported with supporting images. “Big [bouillonnement] Shakes the surface well over a kilometer in diameter. The smaller one forms a circle of about 200 meters. Diameter, a described the Danish military in a press release About these leaks located on the Danish island of Bornholm.

On September 27, 2022, a gas leak occurred in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline off the Danish island of Bornholm, south of Duyot, in the Baltic Sea.

Later in the evening, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen blamed the leaks. “Intentional acts” And “Not for Accident”. Denmark’s energy and climate minister said the leaks are expected to last “At least a week” Until the methane escapes from the underwater pipelines, which have not been operational since the start of the war in Ukraine, but have been filled with gas.

“Currently, it is not possible to estimate the timeframe for the restoration of the gas transmission infrastructure” For its part, the Nord Stream AG consortium announced In a press release.

Underwater explosions were recorded before the spills

Two underwater explosions “Probably due to explosions” The Swedish Seismological Agency said on Tuesday that the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipeline leaks were recorded near their locations shortly before they were detected. A first “Great Energy Discharge” A magnitude of 1.9 was recorded overnight from Sunday to Monday at 2:03 a.m. southeast of the island of Bornholm, followed by a magnitude of 2.3 at 7:04 p.m. Monday in the northeast of the island, explained Peter Schmidt of the Swedish National Seismic Network. “We interpret this as coming with the greatest probability from some kind of explosion”he said.

A day after the leak in the parallel Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was reported, the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline connecting Russia to Germany was hit by two extremely rare gas leaks in the Baltic Sea. Both countries reported that one of the Nord Stream 1 spills occurred in Denmark’s exclusive economic zone and the other in Sweden. Copenhagen immediately put its energy infrastructure on high alert.

Blamed Moscow, fueling the path of sabotage

The subject of a geopolitical standoff in recent months, two pipelines operated by a consortium that depends on Russian giant Gazprom are out of action as a result of the war in Ukraine, but both are full of gas. The Kremlin said to itself “very concerned”Assuming it should not be excluded “no” Hypothesis, including vandalism.

For Mette Frederiksen, “It’s hard to imagine it’s a coincidence,” And don’t vandalize “Rejected”He said during his visit to Poland.

“I talked about the Nord Stream sabotage [la première ministre danoise Mette] Frederickson »A wrote on Twitter tonight European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen. “It is necessary to investigate incidents and shed light on events and their causes. Deliberate disruption of active European energy infrastructure is unacceptable and will likely result in a strong response.She added.

“The massive gas leak from Nord Stream 1 is nothing more than a planned terrorist attack by Russia and an act of aggression against the EU”Mykhaïlo Podoliak, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, confirmed on Twitter on Tuesday, without providing any evidence.

The Polish prime minister also suggested Russian intervention, without directly targeting Moscow. “We clearly see this as an act of sabotage, which represents the next step in the escalation of the situation in Ukraine.”, said Mateusz Morawiecki, head of the Polish Council of Ministers. The operator of the pipelines, Nord Stream Consortium, has not yet observed or assessed the damage, but acknowledged the exceptional nature of the situation. “It is not unusual for three pipelines to encounter difficulties in a single day.”A spokesperson said.

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Investigation of “extremely rare” spills

“Our European partners are investigating. We stand ready to support their efforts,” he said., on Tuesday, a spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council assured about leaks in underwater gas pipelines. Denies “guess” Regarding the causes of this leak in a critical infrastructure for Russian gas supply, this spokesperson added: “This illustrates the importance of our joint efforts to find alternative sources of gas supply for Europe. »

“Gas pipeline leaks are very rare, so we see reason to increase the level of vigilance following the incidents we have witnessed in the last twenty-four hours”Explained in a press release, the director of the Danish Energy Agency, Kristoffer Potsau, promised “Deep Monitoring of Denmark’s Critical Infrastructure”.

The alert level was raised to orange, the second highest. Decisive measures to increase the safety of factories and installations should be taken by companies in the sector.

Limited environmental impacts

Built parallel to the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was planned to double Germany’s ability to import Russian gas. But its upcoming mission has been suspended in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Gazprom has gradually reduced the amount of gas delivered through Nord Stream 1, blaming Western economic sanctions for delaying needed repairs to the pipeline until the pipeline was completely shut down at the end of August.

Navigation within a radius of 5 nautical miles (approximately 9 kilometers) and flight within a radius of 1 kilometer of affected areas is prohibited. According to officials, the incidents have no consequences for the safety or health of residents of the neighboring Danish islands of Bornholm and Kristiansø. According to preliminary assessments, the environmental impact should be local and limited. On Tuesday, the Danish prime minister, along with his Norwegian and Polish counterparts, inaugurated the Baltic Pipe, a gas pipeline that will connect Poland to Norway and run through the Scandinavian country’s territory and waters.

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The world with AFP

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