EU chief vows retaliation if gas pipeline damage is sabotage

EU chief vows retaliation if gas pipeline damage is sabotage
A large disturbance in the sea can be observed off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm (Danish Defence Command via AP)

European Union officials suspect that damage to two underwater natural gas pipelines was sabotage and are warning of retaliation for any attack on Europe’s energy networks.

In a statement on behalf of all 27 member states, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “All available information indicates those leaks are the result of a deliberate act.

“Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response.” Seismologists reported on Tuesday that explosions rattled the Baltic Sea before unusual leaks were discovered on two underwater natural gas pipelines running from Russia to Germany.

Some European leaders and experts pointed to possible sabotage given the energy stand-off with Russia provoked by the war in Ukraine.

The three leaks were reported on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which are filled with natural gas but are not delivering the fuel to Europe.

The damage means that the pipelines are unlikely to be able to carry any gas to Europe this winter even if the political will to bring them online emerged, according to analysts.

Mr Borrell said the EU will support any investigation into the damage, and “will take further steps to increase our resilience in energy security”.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said that “it is the authorities’ clear assessment that these are deliberate actions – not accidents”.

But she said “there is no information indicating who could be behind it”.

Ms Frederiksen rejected the suggestion that the incident was an attack on Denmark, saying the leaks occurred in international waters.

Denmark’s defence minister, Morten Bodskov, is meeting Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg later on Wednesday.

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