The European Union’s foreign affairs chief has promised a robust and united response to any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure. In the wake of the apparent sabotage of two key Baltic gas pipelines, Josep Borrell said the EU would support an investigation. Seismologists reported underwater blasts before the leaks emerged.
Ukraine quickly accused Russia of being behind what it described as a terrorist attack without giving proof, other European leaders were more cautious. As many questioned why Russia would damage its own pipelines that weren’t even in use, some analysts speculate it could be to demonstrate and ability to interfere with European energy infrastructure as the EU tries to wean itself of Russian supplies.
Thousands of people in Gera in Germany against Olaf Scholz’s policy and the explosion of energy and gas prices. They demand an end to sanctions on Russia and the reopening of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Demonstrations also in other German cities but EU media censors them. pic.twitter.com/dmTMLY11jn
— RadioGenova (@RadioGenova) September 26, 2022
The blast coincided with the opening of a new pipeline running from Norway, to Poland. The Kremlin said it was extremely concerned by the leaks.
“Clearly, safety and environment remains the utmost priority. It’s clear that those incidents are not a coincidence. So from the EU Commission side obviously we are in contact with member states and we will support any investigation aimed at getting the full clarity and information on who did what, and also on the further steps to increase our resilience of energy security,” says Valdis Dombrovskis.
As gas continued to spew into the Baltic Sea, it remained far from clear who might be behind the leaks or any foul play if proven, on the Nord Stream pipelines that Russia and European partners spent billions of dollars building.
“Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response,” says Josep Borrell, echoing a warning by European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.
Borrell announced the bloc would step up the protection of its energy infrastructure following the incidents. The pipelines burst in several locations in the exclusive economic zones of Denmark and Sweden while neither of them was in operation amid an energy standoff between Russia and Europe.
Russia which slashed gas deliveries to Europe after the West imposed sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, has said sabotage was a possibility and that the leaks undermined the continent’s energy security.
I’m running a live blog on the war in Ukraine as EU leaders declare the insist the damage to the Nord Stream gas pipes were a ‘deliberate act’ of sabotage. https://t.co/YpgUShhiuv
— Tom Cotterill (@pn_tomcotterill) September 28, 2022