Stockholm | A fourth leak emerged on Thursday at the Nord Stream gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea, which NATO said had been targeted by “deliberate” acts of sabotage, with Moscow suspecting the “involvement” of a foreign state.
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The damage to these strategic installations by Russia and Germany comes amid a backdrop of conflict in Ukraine and tensions between Russia and the West, at the UN in New York on Friday. Security Council meeting should be focused.
Not to be outdone, NATO on Thursday condemned the “deliberate and reckless” sabotage, which the Kremlin called a “terrorist act” that it deemed the “involvement” of a foreign state. However, the two camps did not explicitly point to a single country.
A fourth spill, on the Swedish side, was revealed by the Swedish Coast Guard, adding to three already known in the Baltic, two on the Danish side and one on the Swedish side, causing significant surface boiling.
Following Monday’s suspicious explosions, the spills are in international waters off the Danish island of Bornholm, but within the two Scandinavian countries’ respective exclusive economic zones.
The Swedish Coast Guard could not immediately clarify why the report of this new spill was delayed, but they said the two spills on the Swedish side were located “close” to each other.
However, they could not confirm Swedish media reports that this new leak was located above the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
NATO condemned “deliberate, reckless and reckless” acts of sabotage, and pledged that the Atlantic alliance would defend itself “against state or non-state activism leveraged or any other hybrid act, for coercive purposes.”
Russia, for its part, said it suspected “involvement” by a foreign state, without naming a specific country.
“It is very difficult to imagine that such a terrorist act could happen without the intervention of the state,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, again calling for an “urgent investigation.”
Moscow, which has many skeptics, on Wednesday dismissed as “stupid and absurd” allegations of its possible responsibility, and indirectly accused the United States of asking US President Joe Biden for “answers” about his country’s involvement.
The White House responded by calling the implication that the US could have carried out the sabotage “ridiculous”, and condemned the Russian “misguided” move.
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said the Security Council meeting, chaired by France, will be held on Friday at Russia’s request.
Sweden and Denmark have been tasked with briefing council members on leaks in their exclusive economic zones, he said.
According to Danish officials, more than half of the gas in the two gas pipelines has already been released into the atmosphere by these leaks, and the rest will be gone by Sunday.
The two long pipelines, at the center of geopolitical tensions heightened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are operated by a consortium of Western groups including Russian giant Gazprom.
They were not operational due to the war in Ukraine, but both were filled with gas.
Vast spills are causing significant sea bubbles several hundreds of meters wide on the surface, making it impossible to immediately inspect the structures, officials said.
Nord Stream 2, due for completion in 2021, was originally planned to double Germany’s capacity to import Russian gas. Its operation was suspended in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
These leaks prevent the possibility of gas deliveries to Europe starting soon via Nord Stream 1. Gazprom gradually reduced the amount of gas until the pipeline was completely shut down at the end of August. Convenience.