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Two Explosions Registered Near Nord Stream Pipelines Causing Gas to Leak in Baltic Sea

A senior Ukrainian official accused Russia of the explosions, calling them an act of terrorism

German officials are investigating two explosions that were detected by Sweden’s national seismic network near the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which are currently leaking oil into the Baltic Sea.

The incident has prompted accusations of sabotage from the international community.

“There is no doubt that these were explosions,” said Bjorn Lund of Sweden’s National Seismology Centre told reporters for SVT.

The first blast occurred in the early hours of Sept. 26 while the second was recorded on Sept. 27. Neither pipelines were operational at the time although both contain gas.

The pipelines were the vein through which gas from Russia was transmitted to Europe, which depended on the nation for 40% of its natural gas supply. Just before Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, Nord Stream 2’s commercial certification was paused before completion. Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy company, closed Nord Stream 1 indefinitely in September for “routine maintenance.” 

Europe has accused Russia of using its gas supplies as a political tool as nations across the continent look to beef up their gas stockpiles and energy supplies ahead of the winter months,” reports The New York Post. “Russia has blamed sweeping international sanctions imposed over its war in Ukraine as a leading factor in its inability to effectively maintain the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.”

Nord Stream 1 has two leaks and Nord Stream 2 has one leak. The leaks were registered in the vicinity of the Danish island of Bornholm.

The Nord Stream 1 control center registered a pressure drop on both strings of the gas pipeline,” said Nord Stream in a statement, noting an investigation into the cause is underway.

The incident is also being investigated by the Swedish National Police.

Ships were warned to stay five nautical miles from the leaks’ locations by Sweden’s Maritime Authority.

Russia and European officials have expressed concern and suspicion following the damage to the pipelines.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the leaks are “very concerning” and threaten the continent’s energy security.

“Indeed, we are talking about some damage of an unclear nature to the pipeline in Denmark’s economic zone,” Peskov told reporters, per Reuters. “No option can be ruled out right now.”

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zalenskyy, accused Russia of the explosions on Twitter, calling the incident an act of terrorism.

Gas leak from NS-1 [Nord Stream 1] is nothing more than a terrorist attack planned by Russia and an act of aggression towards the EU. Russia wants to destabilise the economic situation in Europe and cause pre-winter panic,” wrote Podolyak.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said “it is difficult to imagine that” the three leaks “could be accidental.”

“It is too early to conclude yet, but it is an extraordinary situation,” Frederiksen said, per The Financial Times

 “We see clearly that it’s an act of sabotage, related to the next step of escalation of the situation in Ukraine,” said Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister of Poland, in a statement to the media.

In early February, United States President Joe Biden promised to “bring and end” to Nord Stream 2 if Russia invaded Ukraine.

“If Russia invades, that means tanks or troops crossing the border … then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”

When asked by a reporter how he would accomplish this as the Nord Stream 2 project was under German Control, Biden said, “I promise you, we will be able to do that.” 

Energy prices in Europe have increased dramatically as the conflict and consequent sanctions remain in effect. Fortune reports energy prices in Europe have doubled this year, driving up commercial and consumer prices as a result. 

Electricity bills have already tripled in many places,” the outlet reported. “The situation is so dire that governments that previously renounced fossil fuels and nuclear power are desperately reopening shuttered coal plants and nuclear sites, and nationalizing utility companies to save them from going bankrupt.”

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