Sabotage suspected after leaks in Russia-Europe gas pipelines
COPENHAGEN, Sept 27: The two Nord Stream gas pipelines linking Russia and Europe have been hit by unexplained leaks, Scandinavian authorities said Tuesday, raising suspicions of sabotage.
The pipelines have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions in recent months as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine.
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".
While the pipelines, which are operated by a consortium majority-owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom, are not currently in operation, they both still contain gas but the environmental impact appeared limited so far.
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.
A leak was first reported on Nord Stream 2 on Monday.
"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.
"It is too early to say anything about the causes of the incidents," the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities said in a statement.
Denmark's energy agency has, however, called for "higher levels of preparedness in the electricity and gas sector" in the country, Jorgensen said.
During a visit to Poland for the inauguration of the Baltic Pipe Project -- connecting Poland and Denmark to a North Sea pipeline -- Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also told Danish media "it's hard to imagine that it's accidental." -AFP