Nord Stream pipeline leaks spark fears of sabotage

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Sweden’s national seismic network said Tuesday it detected two explosions near mysterious leaks on Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelineswhich has given rise to concerns about sabotage.

Why it’s important: That Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelinescrucial for the supply of Russian natural gas to Germany, have been central to energy crisis that has enveloped Europe in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The latest: “The United States supports efforts to investigate and we will continue our work to ensure Europe’s energy security,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday evening and noted that he had also spoken to his Danish colleague Jean-Charles Ellermann-Kingombe.

The big picture: Two leaks were detected in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and one in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. While neither pipe was operational at the time the leak was discovered, both were filled with gas, Reuters noticed.

  • One explosion occurred early Monday and another occurred later that day, public broadcaster SVT reported, according to Reuters.

Zoom in: Nord Stream AG confirmed in a statement that “the Nord Stream 1 control center detected a pressure drop on both strands of the gas pipeline,” adding that an investigation is underway.

  • The Swedish Maritime Authority issued a warning for ships to keep five nautical miles away from the leaks that were registered near the Danish island of Bornholm.
  • Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said she “cannot rule out” sabotage. The country’s maritime authority echoed Sweden’s warning, noting that ships could lose buoyancy if they are near the leak and that there remains a risk of the leaked gas igniting at the water’s surface and in the air, according to to AP.
  • Bjørn Lund, a seismologist at Sweden’s National Seismology Center SVT, there is “no doubt these were explosions,” Reuters reports.

What they say: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday that the leak was a cause for concern and acknowledged the possibility of sabotage along the pipeline. “No possibility can be ruled out right now,” he said, according to Reuters.

  • “It is too early to conclude yet, but it is an extraordinary situation. There are three leaks, and therefore it is difficult to imagine that it could be accidental,” said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Tuesday. Financial Times reported.

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to note that the leak began on Monday, not Thursday.

This story has been updated with new details about the explosions recorded by Sweden’s National Seismology Center and with comments from White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

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