A deliberate explosion, suggesting a strong response
Russia claims ‘American influence’
In recent years, when three submarine pipelines of the Nordstream gas pipeline connecting Russia and Germany leaked one after the other, European countries defined this as a Russian sabotage operation.
According to AFP news, two leaks occurred in Northstream-1 on the 27th (local time), and a gas leak was confirmed in Northstream-2 the day before. It is located in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Denmark and Sweden. Norstream AG, the operator of the pipeline, said it was “unprecedented for three pipelines to fail at the same time”.
It is very likely that the leak was caused by an explosion. The Swedish National Earthquake Network explained that two huge energy releases were recorded in the area shortly before the discovery of the gas pipe leak, and that it was difficult to find a cause other than the explosion.
Nordstream-1, which has been supplying gas from Russia to Germany since 2011, stopped supplying gas earlier this month, but it is said that there is still a large amount of gas inside. Nordstream-2 was completed late last year to supply additional gas to Germany, but was shut down due to Western sanctions after Russia invaded Ukraine.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has called the incident Russian sabotage, warning that “deliberate damage to European energy infrastructure in any way is unacceptable and will lead to the strongest response”. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen stressed that “the authorities’ assessment is that this was a deliberate act”. Sweden’s Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, also called the incident sabotage.
Europe sees this as a Russian operation because Russia has been using energy as a political tool in cutting gas supplies to Europe after receiving Western sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine. Russia announced it would stop supplying Nordstream-1 gas for three days from the 31st of last month, but stopped supplying gas indefinitely, saying it had discovered a leak on the 2nd , a day before the completion of the inspection. As gas supplies from Russia become unstable, European concerns over an energy crisis have increased.
Russia continues to say that it points to the United States as the mastermind because American energy companies benefit from closing gas pipelines. The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said on the same day, “Joe Biden (President of the United States) said on February 7 that there would be no more Northstream-2 if Russia invaded Ukraine. “I have an obligation to answer,” he said.