“The damage done to three lines of offshore pipelines of the Nord Stream system in one day at a time is unprecedented,” the company, Nord Stream AG, said in a statement to Russian state news agencies.
Two of the damaged pipelines are part of Nord Stream 1, normally a major transmission line of Russian natural gas to Europe, while the third is part of Nord Stream 2, which Western countries have blocked from becoming fully operational as part of sanctions over the Russian war in Ukraine.
Russia has halted transmission through Nord Stream 1 in retaliation for Western sanctions, though the Kremlin also blames technical glitches. However, gas will remain in the submarine pipelines even if supplies are halted.
Russia’s Gazprom says it will not reopen Nord Stream gas pipeline to Europe as planned
Nord Stream 2 operator said the pressure in the subsea pipeline dropped from 105 bar to 7 bar overnight.
Officials said the damage may have been sabotage. “It’s hard to imagine it being accidental,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in Poland, according 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 new Baltic Pipe, which will transport natural gas to Poland and neighboring countries from Norway via Denmark.
Europe is making efforts to diversify supplies and reduce dependence on Russian energy.
After Russia shut down Nord Stream 1 in retaliation for the sanctions, deliveries to Germany, Poland and other countries stopped. European leaders, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, accused the Kremlin of using fossil fuels for “blackmail”.
A European Commission spokesman said that while gas supplies were not at risk due to the new leaks, officials were concerned about possible environmental damage.
“This has not yet had any consequences for security of supply,” said spokesman Tim McPhie. “As you know, deliveries on Nord Stream 1 have been zero anyway, and North Stream 2 is not yet authorized to operate. We are also analyzing the potential impact of these leaks of methane, a gas that naturally has significant effects on climate change, and we are in contact with Member States about the potential impact on maritime transport.”
Still, the damage to the three pipelines was a reminder that Europe must prepare for a difficult winter without a reliable supply of Russian gas. In its statement, the Nord Stream operator said “it is impossible to estimate” when the pipelines will be repaired.
When Russia halted supplies to Nord Stream 1 earlier this month due to technical problems, it accused the West of refusing to supply turbines needed for repairs.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Swedish Maritime Authority had warned of two leaks in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in Swedish and Danish waters. The warning came shortly after a leak was discovered in the nearby Nord Stream 2 pipeline in Danish waters.
Danish and Swedish authorities said they were investigating the leaks and introduced a five-mile exclusion zone near the Danish island of Bornholm, where ships are banned.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday the Russian government is “extremely concerned” about the damage.
“This is very alarming information. There is some damage in the pipeline in the Danish economic zone, it is not yet clear what kind,” Peskov told reporters during his daily conference call. “The pressure has dropped considerably. This is an unprecedented situation that needs to be addressed urgently.”
Peskov also said Russia is “not ruling out any option” after a report by the German newspaper Tagesspiegel suggesting possible sabotage.
In a statement, the German Ministry of Energy was informed of “a sharp drop in pressure” in the Nordstream 2 pipeline, but said it had no “clarity about the causes and the exact facts”.
The European Commission’s chief spokesman, Eric Mamer, said the cause of the leaks is still unknown. “We don’t think we have the elements to determine the cause of the leak,” Mamer said. “Clearly, any kind of sabotage on any infrastructure is something we would condemn.”
Beatriz Rios in Brussels and Meg Kelly in Berlin contributed to this report.
War in Ukraine: what you need to know
The last: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of troops in a speech to the nation on Sept. 21, interpreting the move as an attempt to defend Russian sovereignty against a West that wants to use Ukraine as a tool to ” divide and destroy Russia”. .” Follow our live updates here.
The fight: A successful Ukrainian counter-offensive has led to a major Russian retreat in the northeastern region of Kharkov in recent days as troops fled the towns and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war, leaving behind large amounts of military equipment.
Annexation referendums: Organized referenda, allegedly illegal under international law, will take place from September 23 to 27 in the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, according to Russian news agencies. From Friday, another phased referendum will be held by the Moscow-appointed government in Kherson.
Photos: Photographers for the Washington Post have been on the scene since the beginning of the war – here is some of their most powerful work.
How you can help: Here are ways people in the US can help support the Ukrainian people, as well as what people around the world have donated.
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