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NATO Condemns Nord Stream Attack Which Russia Says Occurred in US Intelligence Controlled Zone

The military alliance said the leaks in the pipelines are 'the result of deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage'

The NATO alliance formally condemned the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines hours after a fourth leak was discovered by the Swedish Coast Guard.

Russia continues to deny responsibility and has instead suggested the United States has a connection to the incident, which has left gas leaking into the Baltic Sea. Gas has been filmed bubbling to the water’s surface which impedes inspections of the pipelines. 

“All currently available information indicates that this is the result of deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage,” NATO said in a statement. “These leaks are causing risks to shipping and substantial environmental damage.”

The military alliance said it had begun an investigation of the origins of the explosions that caused the leaks.

“We, as Allies, have committed to prepare for, deter and defend against the coercive use of energy and other hybrid tactics by state and non-state actors,” said NATO. “Any deliberate attack against Allies’ critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response.”

The statement aligns with the sentiments shared by European world leaders in the immediate aftermath of the initial explosions earlier this week. 

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an interview with the Soloviev Live online broadcast that Washington DC has “full control” over the sea between Denmark and Sweden where the leaks were discovered.

“It happened in the trade and economic zones of Denmark and Sweden. There are NATO-centric countries,” said Zakharova on Sept. 29.

Reuters notes that the Kremlin official did not offer any specific evidence of the US’s formal involvement in the area. 

Russia’s embassy in Denmark said any sabotage on Nord Stream’s pipelines was an attack on both Russia’s and Europe’s energy security,” per Reuters

The Biden administration has reiterated its support for its European allies and the investigation into the explosion while also seeming to hesitate on affirming any outright accusations. 

Both White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have spoken to their Danish counterparts about the attack – each referring to the incident as “apparent sabotage” in their official statements

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Sept. 27 that she would not “speculate on the cause of” the leaks. 

“It’s not something that we’re going to do. I know our European partners are investigating this, so we stand ready to provide support to their efforts once they have completed their investigation,” she told reporters in the briefing room.

Speaking to reporters on the condition of anonymity, a Pentagon official said, “The jury is still out.

“Many of our partners, I think, have determined or believe it is sabotage. I’m just — I’m not at the point where I can tell you one way or the other,” the official said. The official denied that the US was involved.

The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet on Sept. 30 to discuss the pipelines and the attacks’ connections to the Russia-Ukraine war.

The Nord Stream twin pipelines extend from Vyborg, Russia to Greifwald, Germany crossing the Economic Zones of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany and through water space controlled by Russia, Denmark and Germany. It served as the major route of transportation of natural gas from Russia to Europe. Nord Stream 1 was completed in June 2011 while Nord Stream 2 was completed in 2012. Prior to Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, Germany stopped the commercial certification process of Nord Stream 2. Russia halted the use of Nord Stream 1, citing maintenance issues, earlier this year. 

Neither pipeline was in use at the time of the explosions’ initial detection on Sept. 26.

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