< /p> UPDATE DAY
The EU warned on Wednesday against any attack targeting its energy infrastructure, after leaks on Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea described by Europeans as “sabotage”, Moscow deeming it “stupid” to suspect Russia.
“Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is completely unacceptable and will be met with a vigorous and united response,” said the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell.
The information available at this stage indicates that the leaks caused by explosions on these underwater installations linking Russia to Germany are the result of a “deliberate act”, added the European official in a statement on behalf of the 27 member states. of the EU.
Moscow, for its part, rejected the “rather predictable” suspicions raised against it by certain capitals, calling it “stupid and absurd”.
The leaks affecting Nord Stream 1 and 2 are “problematic” for Moscow, because the Russian gas which escapes from them “is very expensive”, has argues Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
On Tuesday, Russia said it was “extremely concerned”, saying that “no” hypothesis should be excluded, including sabotage.
The inspection of the two gas pipelines damaged by underwater explosions in off a Danish island in the Baltic cannot be done for one to two weeks due to the turmoil, Danish Defense Minister Morten Bødskov said on the sidelines of a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels.
Leaks following the explosions, identified since Monday off the Danish island of Bornholm, between southern Sweden and Poland, are visible on the surface with extensive eddies.
The pipeline Nord Stream 2 had suffered a sharp drop in pressure on Monday, followed a few hours later by Nord Stream 1, which follows the route under the Baltic.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had already mentioned Tuesday evening “an act of sabotage” after meeting with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.
Ms Frederiksen also assured Tuesday that it was “liberated acts” and not an “accident”. It is “probably sabotage”, added the resigning Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
Like Denmark, Sweden does not see it as an act of aggression against it, the incidents having had place outside territorial waters, in exclusive economic zones.
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Struggle < /p>
Objects of geopolitical arm wrestling in recent months, the two pipelines operated by a consortium dependent on the Russian giant Gazprom are not operational because of the consequences of the war in Ukraine. But both were still filled with gas.
In Kyiv, the adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, Mykhaïlo Podoliak, denounced “a planned terrorist attack” by Moscow, without providing evidence.
The Polish prime minister also suggested Russian involvement. “We clearly see that this is an act of sabotage, which probably marks the next stage in the escalation of the situation in Ukraine,” said Mateusz Morawiecki, who just inaugurated a gas pipeline linking Norway to Poland on Tuesday. p>
“We are not ruling out any scenario, but we are not going to speculate on the motives or the actors” that may be involved, explained Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde.
“ There is no information yet telling us anything about those responsible,” said Ms. Frederiksen.
Denmark sent two military ships to the scene on Tuesday accompanied by helicopters and placed its energy infrastructure on orange alert, the second highest level of vigilance.< /p>
Norway, now Europe's largest gas supplier, has announced increased security around its oil facilities.
Nord Stream 2, completed in 2021, was intended to double the capacity to import Russian gas into Germany. Its commissioning was suspended in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine.
These leaks dim the prospect of an imminent resumption of gas deliveries to Europe via Nord Stream 1. Gazprom has gradually reduced the volumes of gas delivered until the complete closure of the pipeline at the end of August, blaming Western sanctions for having delayed the necessary repairs of the installation.
The Europeans, very dependent on Russian gas for warm up this winter, accuse Moscow of using the deliveries as a means of pressure.
Navigation has been prohibited within a radius of five nautical miles (about nine kilometers) around the three leaks, as well as their overflight within a radius of one kilometer.
According to the Danish authorities, the incidents have no consequences for the safety or health of local residents.
The direct environmental impact should also be limited, even if unburned natural gas has a powerful greenhouse effect.