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November 30, 2023

Gas leaks in Russian pipelines to Europe stoke sabotage fear

Europe was looking into two Russian gas pipeline leaks that caused the Baltic Sea to erupt with bubbles on Tuesday, raising concerns about infrastructure sabotage at the center of an energy dispute in Europe from Copenhagen to Moscow.

However, it remained incredibly unclear who might be responsible for any wrongdoing on the Nord Stream pipelines that Russia and its European partners spent billions of dollars constructing, should it be proven.

The prime ministers of Poland and Denmark both accused the other of sabotage but did not provide any supporting evidence.

Russia, which has reduced gas shipments to Europe as a result of Western sanctions, claimed there was a chance of sabotage and that the incident jeopardized the continent’s energy security. Without providing any evidence, a senior Ukrainian official claimed it was a Russian attack intended to destabilize Europe.
The Nord Stream pipelines have been focal points in an intensifying energy conflict between Moscow and European capitals that have wreaked havoc on the biggest Western economies, driven up gas prices, and sparked a search for alternative energy sources.

The day after a leak on the nearby Nord Stream 2 pipeline was discovered, which led Denmark to impose shipping restrictions and a small no-fly zone, Sweden’s Maritime Authority issued a warning about two leaks in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

The military of Denmark published a video of bubbles rising to the ocean’s surface. According to the armed forces, the largest gas leak resulted in a surface disturbance that was well over 1 km (0.6 miles) in diameter.

“Today we faced an act of sabotage, we don’t know all the details of what happened, but we see clearly that it’s an act of sabotage, related to the next step of escalation of the situation in Ukraine,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said at the opening of a new pipeline between Norway and Poland.

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