Operator cites damage to Nord Stream pipelines carrying Russian gas to E.U.

The operator of the Nord Stream pipelines constructed to carry Russian gas to Europe on Tuesday reported “unprecedented” damage to the system, elevating suspicions of sabotage after mysterious leaks brought about sudden drops in stress to three underwater traces within the Baltic Sea.

The leaks had no quick affect on vitality provides to the European Union however raised considerations about severe environmental damage from methane, a greenhouse gas that could be a main contributor to local weather change.

“The damage that occurred in one day simultaneously at three lines of offshore pipelines of the Nord Stream system are unprecedented,” the corporate, Nord Stream AG, mentioned in an announcement to Russian state information companies.

Two of the broken pipes are a part of Nord Stream 1, usually a serious transmission line of Russian pure gas to Europe, whereas the third is a part of Nord Stream 2, which Western nations have blocked from changing into absolutely operational as a part of sanctions over Russia’s battle in Ukraine.

Russia has reduce transmission by means of Nord Stream 1 in retaliation for Western sanctions, although the Kremlin has additionally blamed technical failures. Gas, nonetheless, stays within the undersea pipelines even when deliveries are halted.

Russia’s Gazprom says it won’t reopen Nord Stream gas pipeline to Europe as planned

Nord Stream 2’s operator mentioned stress within the undersea pipeline dropped to 7 bar from 105 bar in a single day.

Officials mentioned that the damage could have been sabotage. “It is hard to imagine that it is accidental,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen mentioned in Poland, in accordance to the Danish newspaper Politiken. “We cannot rule out sabotage, but it is too early to conclude.”

Frederiksen spoke at a ceremony in Goleniów, Poland on Tuesday for the opening of the brand new Baltic Pipe, which is able to carry pure gas to Poland and neighboring international locations from Norway by means of Denmark.

Europe has been scrambling to diversify provides and scale back reliance on Russian vitality.

After Russia reduce off Nord Stream 1 in retaliation for the sanctions, halting provides to Germany, Poland and different nations, European leaders, together with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, accused the Kremlin of utilizing fossil fuels for “blackmail.”

A spokesman for the European Commission mentioned that though gas provides weren’t in danger due to the brand new leaks, officers had been involved about potential environmental damage.

“This hasn’t affected the security of supply as yet,” the spokesman, Tim McPhie mentioned. “As you know deliveries have been zero on Nord Stream 1 anyway, and North Stream 2 is not yet authorized to operate. We are also analyzing the potential impact of these leaks of methane, which is a gas which of course has considerable effects on climate change, and we are in touch with the member states about the potential impact on maritime navigation.”

Still, the damage to the three pipelines delivered one more reminder that Europe should brace for a troublesome winter with out dependable provides of Russian gas. In its assertion the Nord Stream operator mentioned “it is impossible to estimate” when the pipelines shall be mounted.

When Russia halted provides through Nord Stream 1 earlier this month citing technical issues, it accused the West of refusing to present generators wanted for repairs.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Swedish Maritime Authority had issued a warning of two leaks within the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in Swedish and Danish waters. The warning got here shortly after a leak on the close by Nord Stream 2 pipe was found in Danish waters.

Danish and Swedish authorities mentioned they had been investigating the leaks and launched a five-mile radius exclusion zone, close to the Danish island of Bornholm, the place ships are banned.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday mentioned the Russian authorities was “extremely concerned” in regards to the damage.

“This is very alarming information, there some damage in the pipe in the Danish economic zone, it is not yet clear what kind,” Peskov advised reporters throughout his every day convention name. “The pressure has dropped considerably. This is an unprecedented situation that needs to be dealt with urgently.”

Peskov additionally mentioned Russia will not be “excluding any options” after a report by the German newspaper Tagesspiegel, suggesting potential sabotage.

In an announcement, the German Energy Ministry was knowledgeable of “a sharp drop in pressure” within the Nordstream 2 pipeline, however mentioned that it didn’t have “clarity about the causes and the exact facts.”

The European Commission’s chief spokesman, Eric Mamer, mentioned the reason for the leaks was nonetheless unknown. “We believe we do not have the elements in order to determine what is the reason for the leak,” Mamer mentioned. “Obviously, any act of sabotage on any infrastructure is something that we would condemn.”

Beatriz Rios in Brussels and Meg Kelly in Berlin contributed to this report.

War in Ukraine: What you want to know

The newest: Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a “partial mobilization” of troops in an tackle to the nation on Sept. 21, framing the transfer as an try to defend Russian sovereignty in opposition to a West that seeks to use Ukraine as a software to “divide and destroy Russia.” Follow our live updates here.

The struggle: A profitable Ukrainian counteroffensive has compelled a serious Russian retreat within the northeastern Kharkiv area in current days, as troops fled cities and villages that they had occupied for the reason that early days of the battle and deserted giant quantities of navy gear.

Annexation referendums: Staged referendums, which might be unlawful below worldwide regulation, are set to happen from Sept. 23 to 27 within the breakaway Luhansk and Donetsk areas of jap Ukraine, in accordance to Russian information companies. Another staged referendum shall be held by the Moscow-appointed administration in Kherson beginning Friday.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the bottom from the start of the battle — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you possibly can assist: Here are methods these within the U.S. can help support the Ukrainian people in addition to what people around the world have been donating.

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