Leaders of several Western countries have said leaks in two Russian gas pipelines are likely the result of sabotage, vowing a strong response as investigations continue.
Swedish authorities sounded the alarm on Tuesday about leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines – both of which run under the Baltic Sea near Sweden and Denmark, and have been major flashpoints in the energy war between Europe and Russia.
Neither pipeline was in operation at the time the leaks were found, but both still contained gas under pressure.
Seismologists detected underwater explosions near the pipelines on Monday, but it’s unclear if those are connected to the leaks.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said in a news conference Tuesday that the leaks were “likely a deliberate action” but “not an attack against Sweden.”
However, she said Sweden’s defense forces were ready to adapt to the situation, while Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said marine units would be made available “if considered necessary.”
Other major European leaders echoed these comments; the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said she sees the leaks as “deliberate actions,” while the Danish Energy Minister Dan Jannik Jørgensen said they could have been caused “by blasts.”
Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Aasland said information so far “indicates acts of sabotage.”
On Tuesday evening, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she had spoken with Danish leaders about “the sabotage action,” and that it is “paramount to now investigate the incidents, get full clarity on events and why.”
“Any deliberate disruption of active European energy infrastructure is unacceptable and will lead to the strongest possible response,” she warned.
The European Union said on Wednesday it was “deeply concerned” about damage to the two pipelines.
“All available information indicates those leaks are the result of a deliberate act,” the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, while promising to increase energy security efforts.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan also spoke with his Danish counterpart on Tuesday about the “apparent sabotage,” saying the US was supporting investigation efforts.
Meanwhile, a Russian spokesman told reporters on Tuesday, “No option can be ruled out right now.”
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