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The Kremlin considers that the leaks in the Russian Nord Stream gas pipeline are due to sabotage

A helicopter flies over the terminal of Nord-Strem 1. / John MACDOUGALL / AFP

The Danish maritime authority has warned that the leak “is dangerous for maritime traffic” and does not rule out restricting air traffic in the environment

The company Nord Stream AG has reported this Tuesday that, on Monday night, two separate technical incidents occurred in the Nord Stream-1 and Nord Stream-2 gas pipelines. The pressure inside the pipeline fell in one of the Nord Stream 2 lines. The problem was detected in pipeline A. The operator underlined the fact that “unprecedented damage occurred on the same day simultaneously in the two branches of the Nord Stream -1 and in one of the Nord Stream-2″, which in turn caused “leakage” in the Baltic Sea, and warned that “it is not yet possible to calculate the moment when the infrastructure will be repaired”.

The German newspaper ‘Der Tagesspiegel’ was quick to speculate that the breakdowns could have been caused intentionally. And, this morning, the Kremlin admitted that it could be “sabotage”. “No option can be ruled out at this time,” declared the spokesman for the Russian Presidency, Dmitri Peskov, when asked by journalists whether what happened could be “sabotage.”

In his words, there is great concern in the Kremlin, since, he pointed out, “an investigation needs to be carried out (…) it is an energy security problem that affects the entire continent.” “This is very worrying news. In fact, we are talking about some damage of an unclear nature to the gas pipeline in the Danish economic zone,’ he added.

The departments concerned in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Russia have been informed of the situation. Subsequently, the company Nord Stream-2 AG, which is the operator of the gas pipeline, determined that the pressure drop occurred about 20 kilometers southeast of the island of Bornholm, in Danish waters.

Depressurization

According to the Russian agency Interfax, Nord Stream-2 AG, which already reported the gas leak on Monday, confirmed the Danish regulator’s data on the place of depressurization. “In cooperation with the coastal services, it was established that the incident occurred in the Danish Special Economic Zone. Coastal services have established a 5 nautical mile radius buffer zone as a security measure,” the company said in a statement. The Danish maritime authority, for its part, warned that the gas leak “is dangerous for maritime traffic (…) navigation is prohibited within a radius of five nautical miles (about 9 km) around the indicated position” . The possibility of restricting air traffic in the area is also contemplated.

Nord Stream-1, with two parallel lines each with a capacity of 27.5 billion cubic meters per year, started supplying gas directly from Russia to Germany in 2011. Nord Stream-2, which runs almost parallel to the other pipeline and has a capacity of 55,000 cubic meters per year, construction was completed in September 2021 but until now it has not entered service because Germany has refused to certify it and Washington has applied sanctions.

The project was completely stopped just a few days before President Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine on February 24. Putin said this month that if Europe needs Russian fuel, “they just have to push the button to start the Nord Stream-2.”

This pipeline runs from the «Slavianskaya» compressor in the Leningrad region to the Baltic coast of Germany through the seabed. The two gas pipeline lines are filled with gas, “technically prepared” and ready to operate.

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