Sweden recorded two explosions before the Russian gas pipeline leaks and suspicions of sabotage grow

The bubbling of one of the gas leaks in the Baltic Sea (via Reuters) (RITZAU SCANPIX /)

sweden registered explosions before they occurred Mysterious leaks in two Baltic Sea gas pipelines connecting Russia and Europeseismologists said Tuesday, making suspect sabotage amid tensions over Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Photos taken by the Danish military showed large masses of bubbles on the water surface emanating from the three leaks located in the economic zones of Sweden and Denmark, extending from 200 to 1,000 meters (656 feet to 0.62 miles). ) diameter.

It’s hard to imagine it being accidentalDanish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said, noting that it was “unusual” for the leaks to occur so far apart.

The Swedish National Seismic Network recorded two “massive energy releases” shortly before the gas leaks and near their locations off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm, said to the AFP Peter Schmidt, a seismologist at Uppsala University.

With such large energy releases there isn’t much more than an explosion that can cause them.”, he added. “You can see that they are quite sudden. It is a very sudden release of energy. It’s not a slow collapse of something”.

Russia has previously said it was “extremely concerned” about the leaks. Asked by journalists whether it could be an act of sabotage, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that for the time being “it is impossible to exclude any option”.

Ukraine, however, pointed directly to Moscowsaying the incident was “no more than a terrorist attack planned by Russia and an act of aggression towards the EU”.

A White House official said the United States would not speculate on the cause but was willing to support European efforts to investigate the leaks.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines have been at the center of geopolitical tensions in recent monthsas Russia cut off gas supplies to Europe in alleged retaliation against Western sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine.

The area where the leaks were recorded, northeast of the island of Bornholm:

Although the pipelines, operated by a consortium majority owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom, are not currently operational, they both contain gas.

One of the Nord Stream 1 leaks occurred in the Danish economic zone and the other in the Swedish economic zone, while the Nord Stream 2 leak occurred in the Danish economic zone.

A leak on the Nord Stream 2 was first reported on Monday.

Danish Climate and Energy Minister Dan Jorgensen confirmed the two leaks from Nord Stream 1 in a statement to AFP on Tuesday. “It is too early to say anything about the causes of the incidents,” the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Public Services said in a statement.

Two Danish military ships have been dispatched to the area, while Sweden has called an emergency cabinet meeting to be held on Tuesday night.

have been issued navigational warnings for a distance of five nautical miles and a flight height of 1,000 meters (3,280 ft).

“Extremely rare”

“Gas pipeline leaks are extremely rare and therefore we see a reason to increase the level of preparedness following the incidents we have witnessed in the last 24 hours,” said Danish Energy Agency Director Kristoffer Bottzauw. , it’s a statement.

The European Commission said it was too early to speculate on what caused the leaks. “We believe that we do not have the elements to determine the reason for the leak. And obviously any act of sabotage on any infrastructure is something we would condemn,” Commission spokesman Eric Mamer told reporters.

A spokesperson for Nord Stream told the AFP that they had not been able to assess the damage, but admitted that “an incident where three pipelines experience difficulties at the same time on the same day is not common”.

The Danish energy agency told the Ritzau news agency that only the area where the gas plume is located will be affected by the leak, but the methane that escapes into the atmosphere has a “detrimental effect on the climate”.

“selective attack”

Built in parallel to the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Nord Stream 2 was to double the capacity to import Russian gas to Germany. But Berlin blocked the recently completed Nord Stream 2 in the days before the war.

Germany, which has relied heavily on fossil fuel imports from Russia to meet its energy needs, has since come under severe pressure as Moscow has cut supplies.

Russian energy giant Gazprom progressively reduced gas volumes supplied through Nord Stream 1 until it completely shut down the pipeline in late August, blaming Western sanctions for delaying necessary repairs to the pipeline.

Germany has rejected Gazprom’s technical explanation for the cut, instead accusing Moscow of using energy as a weapon amid war tensions in Ukraine.

For its part, the German newspaper Tagesspiegel reported that the leaks could be the result of “targeted attacks”.

“We cannot imagine a scenario other than a targeted attack”, said a source close to the government and relevant authorities, according to the newspaper.

(With information from AFP/by Camille Bas-Wohlert)


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