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EU suspects sabotage of Nord Stream pipelines, threatens sanctions

The European Union believes sabotage is the likely cause of leaks from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines and is threatening countermeasures, its top diplomat said on Wednesday.

The European Union believes sabotage is the likely cause of leaks from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines and is threatening countermeasures, its top diplomat said on Wednesday.

“The European Union is deeply concerned about damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines that has resulted in leaks in the international waters of the Baltic Sea,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

“These incidents are not a coincidence and affect us all,” his statement read.

He said that all of the available information indicated that the leaks were the result of a deliberate act.

“We will support any investigation aimed at getting full clarity on what happened and why, and will take further steps to increase our resilience in energy security,” he said.

Borrell said that any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is unacceptable and would be met with a “robust and united response.”

Three leaks were found in the pipelines that carry gas from Russia to Europe via the Baltic Sea, in the exclusive economic zones of Denmark and Sweden off the Danish island of Bornholm.

The pipelines had been filled with Russian natural gas, but neither was actually delivering any gas to the terminals in Germany. Gas through Nord Stream 1 stopped flowing after Russia carried out maintenance work; Nord Stream 2 was never put into operation due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

In Wednesday’s statement, Borrell did not mention any suspicions as to who might be behind the leaks.

On Tuesday, several top European officials as well as the Kremlin suggested that there may have been an attack on the pipelines.

German security sources told dpa the cause of the incidents had not been clarified, but there were indications of sabotage. Only a state actor could mount such an intervention due to its technical complexity, the sources said.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics described leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines as “deliberate attacks” in a tweet on Wednesday.

“The sabotage of the Nordstream I and II pipelines must be classified as the most serious security and environmental incident in the Baltic Sea,” Rinkevics wrote. “It seems we are entering a new phase of hybrid war.”

NATO and the EU should “respond accordingly,” he said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter on Tuesday evening that it was “paramount to now investigate the incidents, get full clarity on events,” after talking to Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

European Council President Charles Michel wrote on Tuesday night that the ”Nordstream sabotage acts appear to be an attempt to further destabilize energy supply to [the] EU.”

“Those responsible will be held fully accountable and made to pay,” Michel said. “Our efforts to diversify energy supply away from Russian gas continue,” he added.

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