Russia has declared the Nord Stream Leaks “State Terrorism” and turned its attention to the US
Gas leaks in the Baltic Sea from Nord Stream pipelines to Germany appear to be the result of state-sponsored terrorism, the Russian Federation has concluded, Reuters reports. Moscow claims it has evidence that the West played a role in the breakouts. This is what the Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation Sergey Naryshkin says. “The West did everything in its power to cover up the perpetrators of the terrorist attack”.
So far there are four leaks, they were discovered off the coast of Denmark and Sweden.
The West suspected sabotage behind them. An EU official said the incidents had fundamentally changed the nature of the conflict in Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg directly called what happened "sabotage" and promised a resolute response.
The EU is investigating the causes of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 leaks, which are operated by Russia's Gazprom. Russia and its European partners spent billions on the construction of the pipelines.
"This looks like a terrorist act, probably at the state level," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding: "It is very difficult to imagine that such a terrorist act could happen without the participation of some state." Earlier Moscow said the leaks were in territory that was "entirely under the control" of US intelligence services.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing that Washington would be able to increase its sales of liquefied natural gas if the pipelines were decommissioned.
But US broadcaster CNN reported, citing three sources, that European security officials had spotted Russian navy support ships and submarines not far from the leaks. Asked to comment on this information, Peskov said there was a much larger NATO presence in the area.
Zakharova called for the EU investigation to be "objective" and said Washington would have to "explain itself" to President Joe Biden's February comment that if Russia invaded Ukraine, "there would be no more Nord Stream 2." The White House rejected Russian accusations that it was responsible for the failure of Nord Stream and attributed Biden's comments to efforts at the time to secure certification to bring Nord Stream 2 into commercial use.
Leaks from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline are likely to be stopped on Monday, the pipeline's operator told Reuters. But the spokesman for Nord Stream AG said it was not possible to make predictions about the future operation of the pipeline until the damage was assessed.
Russia has halted supplies on Nord Stream 1, saying Western sanctions have hampered its work.
Although neither pipeline was delivering gas to Europe when the leaks were discovered, both had gas in them.
EU leaders will discuss the consequences of the breakdown next week at a summit in Prague, an EU official said.
"It fundamentally changes the nature of the conflict as we've seen it so far, just like the mobilization ... and the eventual annexation," he said, referring to Russia's mobilization of more troops for the war and President Vladimir Putin's expectations to annex Ukrainian regions.
Russia's war with Ukraine and the resulting energy standoff between Moscow and Europe, which has left the EU scrambling to find alternative gas supplies, will dominate the EU summit on October 7.
On Wednesday, the European Union warned of a "firm and united response" if there were more attacks and stressed the need to protect its energy infrastructure, but EU officials avoided directly naming possible perpetrators.
Next week, EU leaders will discuss the eighth package of sanctions against Russia that European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has proposed. It includes tighter trade restrictions, more blacklists and a cap on oil prices for third countries. An EU official said he expected the bloc's 27 countries to agree on parts of the sanctions package before the summit, such as adding additional people to the blacklist and some of the trade restrictions on steel and technology. Other topics, such as the oil price cap or sanctions against banks, may not be resolved before the summit, he added. EU countries need unanimity to impose sanctions, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is a fierce critic, saying the sanctions have "backfired", raising energy prices and hitting European economies.
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