Explosions and allegations of sabotage due to the leak in the pipes linking Russia and Europe

Explosions and allegations of sabotage due to the leak in the pipes linking Russia and Europe

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines have focused the geopolitical tension of recent months in Europe / Photo: AFP

Two underwater explosions were reported Tuesday in the Baltic Sea off Denmark ahead of the discovery of three leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines linking Russia with Europe, amid suspicions of sabotage and rising tension after the end of the referendums. of annexation in four Ukrainian territories occupied by Russian forces.

The Swedish Seismological Institute reported that it recorded “two massive releases of energy” shortly before and near the site of the gas leaks off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm.Peter Schmidt, a seismologist with the national network, told the AFP news agency.

“The first occurred at 2:03 local time (21:03 on Sunday in Argentina) just southeast of Bornholm, with a magnitude of 1.9. Then we observed another at 19:04 on Monday (14:04 in Argentina), another incident a little further to the north that seems to have been somewhat more powerful. We calculate a magnitude of 2.3”said the seismologist.

The Norwegian seismic network (Norsar) also confirmed having recorded “a smaller explosion” in the early hours of Monday, “followed by a more powerful one” later that day.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines have focused the geopolitical tension of recent months in Europe, since Russia cut off its supply to Europe in response to Western sanctions against Moscow for invading Ukraine.

The two gas pipelines, managed by a consortium majority owned by the state-owned Russian energy group Gazprom, are not currently operating. However, both still contain gas, which has been leaking since Monday.

In some photos taken by the Danish army, large bubbles could be seen on the surface of the water, emanating from three leaks located in the waters of Sweden and Denmark, with diameters between 200 and 1,000 meters.

The Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream gas pipelines are not currently operating Photo AFP
The Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream gas pipelines are not currently operating / Photo: AFP.

Ukraine said on Tuesday that these leaks were probably caused by a “terrorist attack” planned by Moscow against the European Union (EU).

“The large-scale Nord Stream 1 ‘gas leaks’ are nothing more than a planned terrorist attack by Russia and an act of aggression against the EU,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhail Podoliak said on Twitter.

Podoliak accused Russia of seeking to “destabilize the economic situation in Europe and cause a panic before winter.”

“At this time we cannot rule out any hypothesis. What is evident is that the pipes have been damaged and no variant can be ruled out until we have the results of the inspections,” the Kremlin spokesman said.Dmitry Peskov.

The spokesman described as “alarming” the information about the leaks in the two gas pipelines and pointed out that the Russian Government demanded an immediate investigation of the causes of what happenedreported the Sputnik news agency.

On the other hand, the operating company of the submarine gas pipelines refused to give an estimated date of when it could resolve the “unprecedented” failures that occurred simultaneously in three pipes of the system.

“The destructions that occurred on the same day, simultaneously, in three strings of offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system are unprecedented. It is not yet possible to estimate the restoration schedule of the gas transportation infrastructure”Zug, Switzerland-based company Nord Stream AG said.

“I am not going to speculate on the cause, and I know that our European partners are investigating. We are ready to support their efforts,” said a senior White House official, who requested anonymity, quoted by AFP.

“This simply shows the importance of our efforts to work together to secure alternative gas supplies for Europe, support efforts to reduce gas consumption and accelerate true energy independence by moving to a clean energy economy,” he said.

In the middle of last June, Gazprom reduced the flow through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 40 percent of nominal capacity, for technical reasons, and at the end of July it lowered the volume to 20 percent.

On August 31, the transfer of gas was completely cut offfor routine maintenance of a Siemens turbine, the only one still in operation at a compressor station near St. Petersburg.

Gas pumping was to resume on September 2, but was suspended until further notice after an oil leak was detected, which Gazprom says is a systemic failure and, according to the German manufacturer, is not critical for operations.

The second submarine gas pipeline that connects Russia with Germany, Nord Stream 2, was paralyzed in the certification phase due to the restrictive measures that the West imposed on Moscow after the military intervention in U/crania.

In the meantime, the pro-Russian authorities claimed the victory of the “yes” to the union with Russia in the two regions of southern Ukraine where the referendums were held, Kherson and Zaporizhia, under Moscow control. The percentages of support were 87% and 93% respectively, as announced after counting all the ballots.

The other two regions in which they held consultations are Donetsk and Lugansk, in eastern Ukraine, where the pro-Russian authorities also gave the “yes” advantage.

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, minimized the value of these referendums, which will not change “our actions in the military field.”

Ukraine’s allies denounced the referendumsorganized in an expeditious manner in the face of the advance of the kyiv forces, which with the support of Western weapons have recovered thousands of square kilometers from the Russians since the beginning of September.

The G7 has sworn it will “never recognize” the results, something US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated.

“We and many other countries have made it clear. We will not, we will never recognize Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory,” Blinken told a news conference.

NATO affirmed that the referendums are a “flagrant violation of international law”and Israel warned that it will not recognize the results of the referendums either.

Likewise, the UN said it supported “the territorial integrity of Ukraine” on its “recognized” borders.

On the contrary, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin stated that these referendums aim to “save the populations” residing in these territories, which represent just over 20% of the Ukrainian surface.

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