Russia VS Europe: Leaked Pipeline or a Pre-war Threat

The two Nord Stream gas pipelines linking Russia and Europe have been hit by unexplained leaks

The pipelines have been at the center of geopolitical tensions in recent months as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine.

The two Nord Stream gas pipelines linking Russia and Europe have been hit by unexplained leaks, Scandinavian authorities said it might be a sabotage. The leak was first reported on Nord Stream 2 on Monday.

Pipelines which are operated by a consortium majority-owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom, are not currently operating, they both still contain gas but the environmental impact appeared limited so far.

Russia said it was “extremely concerned” about the leaks. Asked by reporters whether it could be an act of sabotage, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that at the moment “it is impossible to exclude any options”.

One of the leaks on Nord Stream 1 occurred in the Danish economic zone and the other in the Swedish economic zone, while the Nord Stream 2 leak was in the Danish economic zone.

“Authorities have now been informed that there have been another two leaks on Nord Stream 1, which likewise is not in operation but contains gas,” Danish climate and energy minister Dan Jorgensen told AFP in a statement on Tuesday.

Calculated Attack?

According to a source close to the government and relevant authorities, quoted in the newspaper, “everything speaks against a coincidence”. “We cannot imagine a scenario that is not a targeted attack”

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also told Danish media “it’s hard to imagine that it’s accidental.”

“We believe we do not have the elements in order to determine what is the reason for the leak. And obviously any act of sabotage on any infrastructure is something that we would condemn,” EU commission spokesman Eric Mamer told reporters.

Highly Uncommon For A Natural Leak

A Nord Stream spokesperson told AFP that they had not been able to assess the damage but conceded that “an incident where three pipes experience difficulties at the same time on the same day is not common.”

“Gas pipeline leaks are extremely rare and we therefore see a reason to increase the level of preparedness following the incidents we have witnessed over the past 24 hours,” director of the Danish Energy Agency Kristoffer Bottzauw said in a statement.

Helpless Dependency Of Germany

Built in parallel to the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Nord Stream 2 was intended to double the capacity for Russian gas imports to Germany. But Berlin blocked newly-completed Nord Stream 2 in the days before the war.

Germany, which has been highly dependent on imports of fossil fuels from Russia to meet its energy needs, has since come under acute stress as Moscow has dwindled supplies.

Russian energy giant Gazprom progressively reduced the volumes of gas being delivered via Nord Stream 1 until it shut the pipeline completely at the end of August, blaming Western sanctions for the delay of necessary repairs to the pipeline.

Safety Measures Being Kept In View

As a result of the leaks, navigational warnings have been issued for a distance of five nautical miles and a flight height of 1,000 meters (3,280 feet).