NewsNord Stream leaks: Russia 'deliberately planned' alleged sabotage attack

Nord Stream leaks: Russia 'deliberately planned' alleged sabotage attack

Created: 09/29/2022, 2:15 p.m

Explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines: The coast guard discovers a fourth leak, nobody believes it was an accident: the situation in the news ticker.

+++ 2.15 p.m .: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the attacks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea as “acts of terrorism”. According to the Reuters news agency, Peskow said that investigations must now be carried out in cooperation with other countries. The spokesman did not name which countries he meant by that. Asked about reports from the American broadcaster CNN that support boats and submarines from the Russian Navy were not far from the leaks, Peskov said the NATO presence in the Baltic Sea was much larger.

Das Bild zeigt ein kleines Gasleck bei Nord Stream 2 in der Ostsee, fotografiert aus einem Flugzeug der schwedischen Küstenwache.
The picture shows a small gas leak at Nord Stream 2 in the Baltic Sea, photographed from a Swedish Coast Guard aircraft. © dpa

Nord Stream Pipelines: NATO speaks of sabotage

+++ 1:15 p.m .: The leaks in the gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 are also due to sabotage, according to NATO. “All information currently available indicates that this is the result of intentional, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage,” the North Atlantic Council of 30 said in a statement. A possible person responsible is not named in the statement. In the morning, Russia had indicated that the United States was to blame for the incidents (see update from 11:40 a.m.). At the same time, the NATO countries make it clear that “any deliberate attack on the critical infrastructure of the alliance partners” would be answered with a “joint and resolute reaction”.

+++ 11:40 a.m.: Given the problems of carrying out a sabotage attack on the Nord Stream pipelines undetected, most analysts agree that only one state could have carried it out. While a security expert considers Russian authorship to be likely (see update from 10.25 a.m.), Moscow blames the USA. According to the RIA Novosti news agency, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a brief statement in the morning saying that the “incident occurred in a zone controlled by the US secret service”.

Nord Stream pipelines: Expert gives reasons for possible Russian sabotage

+++ 10.25 a.m .: Security expert Johannes Peters considers it “relatively unlikely” that the damage to the Baltic Sea pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2 could have been caused by an accident. Rather, he suspects Russia behind the alleged act of sabotage. “Obviously, it seems a bit absurd to destroy your own pipelines,” said the expert from the Institute for Security Policy at the University of Kiel in the ARD morning magazine. But there are good reasons for this.

One reason is certainly to send a “strong signal” to Europe, especially to Germany and Poland, that the same thing could be done with pipelines that are much more important for our security of supply, such as the pipelines from Norway: “So be together not so sure that you are well prepared for the winter and that you are able to offset our gas.” Another possible reason is that in winter “the still intact Nord Stream 2 tube can be used to To increase pressure on Germany if, for example, domestic political pressure on the government should increase because gas prices are high, because we might not have enough gas for the winter after all”. Then Russia could offer to deliver gas through the intact pipeline after all. For this, however, Germany would have to “pull out of the Western sanctions regime”.

Nord Stream Pipelines: Fourth leak discovered

+++ 7.30 a.m .: The Swedish Coast Guard has discovered a fourth leak in the Nord Stream pipelines. It is located on Sweden’s territory, as reported by the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet . Gas flows out of the leak to the surface of the water. Accordingly, the point on the pipeline was apparently damaged by remote-controlled explosive devices. The investigations are still ongoing.

+++ 6:00 a.m .: Ylva Johansson, EU Interior Commissioner, commented on the alleged acts of sabotage on the Nord Stream pipelines on Wednesday evening. On ZDF she said that this was a warning call. Johansson therefore announced a stress test for the critical infrastructure in the European energy sector. “We [Note. i.e. Red.: EU Commission] will now contact all member states and we will carry out a stress test with regard to the critical infrastructure,” emphasized the EU Interior Commissioner in an interview. Johansson called the alleged sabotage an “attack.” This is “a threat” and an “escalation”. The organization of the sabotage suggests that a state is behind it, Johansson continued. “Of course we have our suspicions. But it’s too early to judge that conclusively,” she explained in the “heute journal”.

Update from Thursday, September 29, 4:30 a.m .: The explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines could have “destroyed some lines forever”. This is reported by the Tagesspiegel , citing government circles in Berlin. These are apparently three strands of the gas pipelines running through the Baltic Sea. In order to stop this, urgent repairs are now necessary, it said. Otherwise, the inflow of large amounts of salt water could lead to “corrosion” of the pipelines. In such a case, etching is considered likely.

The operator of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline recently did not rule out repair measures. A company spokesman for the German Press Agency said on Wednesday. However, no concrete plans for repairs were presented either.

+++ 10:45 p.m .: British security circles blame Russia for the alleged sabotage attack on the Nord Stream gas pipelines. The Times reports, citing a “British defense source”. One attack was “probably deliberate and planned” with an explosive device that was said to have been thrown into the sea weeks before it detonated.

+++ 10:20 p.m .: Frigate captain and maritime security expert, Göran Swistek , assessed the situation on ZDF today. The amount of explosives used is not freely available on the market. “They will probably be of a military nature,” says Swistek. .Overall, the focus is clearly on Russia. In addition to Russia, according to Swistek, Germany, Sweden and Poland have submarines in the Baltic Sea. However, because of the shallow depth of the sea, it is unlikely that these were used to set the explosives.

Alleged sabotage causes energy prices to rise again

+++ 9:20 p.m .: European companies are stepping up security after the alleged sabotage of two pipelines supplying natural gas from Russia underscored the vulnerability of Europe’s energy infrastructure. As a result, energy prices continue to rise. The EU also warned of possible sanctions, reports CBC News.

Some European officials and energy experts said Russia is likely to blame for the sabotage – it benefits directly from higher energy prices and economic turmoil in Europe. On Wednesday, Russian energy giant Gazprom stepped up the pressure, threatening on Twitter to stop trading with the Ukrainian gas company.

Nord Stream leaks: Russia launches ‘terrorism’ investigation

+++ 8:23 p.m .: Russia’s secret service FSB launched investigations into “international terrorism” after the damage to the Nord Stream pipelines. Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office told Telegram on Wednesday that the preliminary investigation was launched after gas pipelines near the island of Bornholm were “deliberately” damaged, causing “significant economic damage” to Russia.

+++ 19:16: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was “stupid and absurd” to assume that Russia was behind the leaks. The leaks are “rather problematic” for Moscow, he said.

The expensive gas is now disappearing “in the air”. The Moscow Foreign Ministry spokeswoman indicated that US President Joe Biden was responsible for the leaks. Washington dismissed this as “ridiculous.” At Moscow’s request, the UN Security Council will deal with Nord Stream on Friday, according to the Swedish Foreign Ministry.

+++ 6.40 p.m .: After three leaks in the Nord Stream pipelines, more than half of the gas has already escaped from the affected lines, the Danish energy authority said. Accordingly, the lines should be empty on Sunday (October 2nd), head of the authorities Kristoffer Böttzauw informed at a press conference on Wednesday.

Although there is no concrete health risk for the population, Denmark is assuming serious environmental damage. According to calculations by the authority, the climate impact of the gas leak corresponds to about a third of Denmark’s total climate impact in one year, it said. The EU and NATO attribute the leaks in the Baltic Sea pipelines to sabotage.

Damaged Nord Stream pipelines: Federal Environment Agency fears severe climate damage

+++ 17:24: According to the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), the gas leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines lead to severe climate damage. All methane in the pipelines will be released into the atmosphere, the agency said on Wednesday. The reason for this is that there are no foreclosure mechanisms on the pipelines.

According to the UBA, a total of 0.3 million tons of methane are expected to be released into the atmosphere. Methane is “significantly more harmful to the climate than CO2”. Over a hundred years, one tonne of methane warms the atmosphere in the same way as 25 tons of CO2. Therefore, the climate effect of the leaks must be estimated at around 7.5 million tons of CO2 equivalents, the authority calculated.

Nord Stream Pipelines: Possible “giant crack” after explosions

+++ 4.30 p.m .: After the explosions on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, it remains unclear whether repairs are still possible. Before a procedure can be determined, the damage must be assessed, a spokesman for Nord Stream AG told the German Press Agency . So far there are no pictures of the actual leaks. It was “unprecedented” that such damage had occurred to several lines within a short period of time.

Nord Stream 2 AG is also still unaware of the exact damage to its largely parallel pipeline. “No one can seriously say at the moment what it looks like down there,” said spokesman Ulrich Lissek. The extent can only be estimated based on the extensive formation of bubbles. “The structural integrity of the pipeline must be massively damaged.” He spoke of a possible “giant crack”.

+++ 3.40 p.m .: It is still completely unclear what could have caused the explosions on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines. Basically, hardly anyone believes in simultaneous accidents. In any case, the federal government has findings that “there can be no natural cause for this incident”. When asked if it was an attack, government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said in Berlin: “I wouldn’t describe it at the moment.”

Nord Stream Pipelines: Kremlin rejects all allegations

+++ 2.45 p.m .: The Kremlin has rejected allegations that Russia is allegedly responsible for the leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines. It is “stupid and absurd to make such assumptions,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to the Interfax agency . In Ukraine, there have been allegations that Russia deliberately sabotaged the pipelines to exacerbate Europe’s energy crisis and spark pre-winter panics. The European Union considers sabotage to be the likely cause and has threatened countermeasures. However, she left open who she held responsible. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also spoke of sabotage (see update from 11.45 a.m.).

Peskov called for Russia to be involved in clarifying the incidents. The situation requires “dialogue and operational cooperation from all sides” in order to clarify the cause of the leaks as quickly as possible and to estimate the damage caused. “Right now we see the absolute lack of such a dialogue.” Peskov explained that Russia is not interested in stopping the flow of gas through the Nord Stream pipelines. The damage is also a big problem for Russia. Both strands of Nord Stream 2 are filled with gas. “This gas costs a lot of money, and now it’s escaping into the air.”

+++ 1:15 p.m .: According to the Swedish Coast Guard, the gas from the three Nord Stream leaks is leaking with no change. “Unfortunately, the gas cannot be captured or fought,” said a spokesman for the coast guard of the German Press Agency . The leaks are partly in the Danish, partly in the Swedish exclusive economic zone. Both countries had set up safety zones for shipping after the discovery. Ships are not allowed to pass through the area around the leaks in a radius of five nautical miles (almost 9.3 kilometers). “If ships stay out of this zone, there is no risk for the crew,” said the spokesman.

Nord Stream Pipelines: NATO also speaks of sabotage

+++ 11.45 a.m .: In connection with the leaks in the Baltic Sea gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has now spoken of sabotage. In a conversation with Danish Defense Minister Morten Bødskov, the Norwegian wrote on Twitter that “the sabotage” of the pipelines was the issue. They also talked about protecting critical infrastructure in NATO countries.

Bødskov said in Brussels that with so much gas in the lines, it could take a week or two for the area to calm down enough to investigate the leaks at about 80 meters below the surface. He emphasized that the incidents took place in international waters and that the infrastructure was not critical for his country. The total of three leaks are located there in the exclusive economic zones of Denmark and Sweden.

Nord Stream Pipelines: EU considers sabotage likely

+++ 8.45 a.m .: The European Union considers acts of sabotage on the Nord Stream pipelines to be likely. Those responsible are apparently threatened with sanctions from the EU side, as was heard from Brussels on Wednesday morning. “All available information indicates that these leaks are the result of a deliberate act,” said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on behalf of the 27 member states. Any intentional disruption to Europe’s energy infrastructure will “be met with a robust and collective response.”

+++ 8 a.m.: Frank Umbach, an expert in energy security at the University of Bonn, sees clear evidence that the damage to the Nord Stream pipelines is the result of sabotage. “Such coincidences, including the fact that these leaks are sometimes 50 kilometers apart and hit these pipelines almost simultaneously, underwater explosions that have been registered, clearly indicate that this was an act of sabotage and not some technical accident.” , he told ZDF .

However, the possible dangers from the gas escaping there are low: “That is normal gas, what is escaping there, that is also methane gas, that is of course a disaster in terms of climate policy and can also be dangerous for shipping, but beyond that it is not dangerous.” In addition, Umbach does not believe that the pipelines will have a future.

Nord Stream Pipelines: von der Leyen speaks of “act of sabotage”

+++ 07.30 a.m .: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also described the underwater explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines as an “act of sabotage”. It is now of the utmost importance to investigate the incidents in order to get “complete clarity” on what happened and the background. “Any intentional disruption of active European energy infrastructure is unacceptable and will result in the strongest possible response,” she wrote on Twitter.

Update from Wednesday, September 28, 5:30 a.m .: According to an assessment by the Swedish government, the underwater explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines are due to sabotage. Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said this at a press conference on Tuesday evening. Based on Swedish and Danish information, the conclusion is that it was probably an intentional act. “So it’s probably a question of sabotage,” she said. Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said afterwards that they were ready to allocate military resources as needed. At the press conference, Prime Minister Andersson also referred to agreements with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

Nord Stream Pipelines: Sabotage by Russia?

+++ 17:46: “A leak in three different places with such a large distance between them can only be the result of a deliberate act or sabotage,” said Norwegian military scientist and naval officer Tor Ivar Strömmen on Tuesday (September 27) of the AFP news agency . At the same time, Russia is the only possible person responsible for him.

+++ 3.45 p.m .: Ukraine also described the leaks found on Nord Stream pipelines as sabotage. It was a “terrorist attack,” said Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. It was “nothing more than a terrorist attack planned by Russia and an act of aggression against the EU,” he wrote on Twitter. Russia’s aim is to destabilize Europe in winter, especially in the energy sector. “The best response” to such a provocation is “tanks for Ukraine,” Podoliak said.

Nord Stream pipelines sabotaged? Poland speaks of “next level of escalation”

+++ 3:00 p.m .: Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has stated that the leaks in the Nord Stream pipelines are due to sabotage. “We don’t yet know the details of what happened there, but we can clearly see that there was an act of sabotage,” Morawiecki said on the sidelines of a gas pipeline opening in Goleniow near Szczecin. The act of sabotage is “probably the next level of escalation that we are dealing with in Ukraine”.

+++ 1.45 p.m .: Two more leaks were apparently discovered in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. This is reported by the Reuters news agency. Gas is now escaping into the Baltic Sea, it said. The offshore lines of the Russian-owned gas pipeline have suffered “unprecedented” damage. The information cannot be independently verified.

+++ 12.30 p.m .: Russia has not ruled out sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines. “Now no variant can be ruled out,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “Obviously there is a destruction of the line. And whatever the reason for that, until the time the results of the investigations come out, you can’t rule out any variant,” he said. The Russian government is “extremely concerned” about the sudden drop in pressure in the pipelines.

Update from Tuesday, September 27, 11:15 a.m .: According to Danish authorities, a total of three leaks have been discovered on the two Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. The operators had previously reported a drop in pressure in the tubes. This is reported by the NDR .

Two of the three leaks found are on Nord Stream 1 northeast of the island of Bornholm, one on Nord Stream 2 southeast of the island. In the case of Nord-Stream 1, one leak is in Danish and the other in Swedish waters, in the case of Nord-Stream 2 in Danish, according to the Danish Energy Agency. Since none of the natural gas pipelines are currently in operation, the incidents currently have no impact on the energy supply in Europe.

First report from Tuesday, September 27: Berlin – In the past few days, an unusual drop in pressure has been measured in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines. The capacities fell unplanned. This is obviously not a coincidence, as the federal government suspects.

The Tagesspiegel reports that the government is assuming targeted attacks on the pipelines. “We can’t imagine a scenario where this isn’t a targeted attack,” an anonymous person privy to the federal government’s and federal agencies’ assessment told the newspaper. “Everything speaks against a coincidence.”

Nord Stream Pipelines: Sudden Pressure Drop – Are Attacks Behind It?

Both the Federal Network Agency and the Federal Ministry of Economics said on Monday evening (September 26) that the reason for the pressure drop in the Nord Stream pipelines was not yet known. They are in contact with the relevant authorities, it said. Part of the planned investigations is probably an analysis of the seabed around the pipelines. Navy divers and submarines are used for this. According to the Tagesspiegel report, there are two possible scenarios to explain the unusual drop in pressure: According to this, saboteurs from both Russia and Ukraine could be behind it. However, these are guesses. Neither of the two responsible governments has commented on this so far. (tu/mse/cs with dpa/AFP)

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