MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Thursday that a foreign state was likely responsible for an incident that resulted in the leaks at the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines linking Russia to Europe.
“It’s very difficult to imagine that such a terrorist act could happen without the involvement of a state,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in his daily press briefing.
After explosions were reported earlier this week in suspected sabotage, a fourth leak was detected in the undersea gas pipelines linking Russia to Europe on Thursday.
“This is an extremely dangerous situation that requires urgent investigation,” Peskov said. On Wednesday, Russia launched an international terrorism probe.
Peskov said such an investigation “required the cooperation of several countries” but denounced an “acute shortage of communications and unwillingness of many countries to contact” Russia.
Moscow and Washington both have denied involvement in the incident. The UN Security Council will meet on Friday to discuss the leaks.
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines have been shrouded in political tensions since the Kremlin sent troops to Ukraine.
Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions, but the pipelines still contained gas though they were not operational.
Fourth leak detected at Russian gas pipeline to Europe –
A fourth leak has been detected in undersea gas pipelines linking Russia to Europe, the Swedish Coast Guard said Thursday, after explosions were reported earlier this week in what NATO called “reckless” sabotage.
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines link Russia to Germany, and have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Swedish Coast Guard confirmed Thursday there were four leaks in total on the pipeline in the Baltic Sea — two on the Swedish side and two on the Danish side. Three leaks were previously reported.
While the pipelines — operated by a consortium majority-owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom — are not currently in operation, they both still contained gas.
On Thursday, NATO declared that the damage was “the result of deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage”.
“These leaks are causing risks to shipping and substantial environmental damage,” the Western military alliance said in a statement.
Russia has denied it was behind the explosions — as did the United States, saying Moscow’s suggestion it would damage the pipeline was “ridiculous”.
Russia’s security service launched an “international terrorism” investigation into the gas leaks, saying the damage had caused “significant economic damage to the Russian Federation”. It said Thursday suspects a foreign state of being behind the leaks.
The UN Security Council will meet Friday to discuss the matter.