Sweden says Nord Stream pipeline leaks “gross sabotage”
It turns out the suspected sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline over a month ago…
EU vows to protect energy network after ‘sabotage’ of Russian gas pipeline
The European Union on Wednesday promised a “robust” response to any intentional disruption of its energy infrastructure after saying it suspected sabotage was behind gas leaks discovered this week on subsea Russian pipelines to Europe.
As gas spewed out under the Baltic Sea for a third day after first being detected, it remained far from clear who might be responsible for any sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines that Russia and European partners spent billions of dollars building.
Russia, which slashed gas deliveries to Europe after the West imposed sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, has also said sabotage was a possibility.
“Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response,” the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
…was, in fact, the big badda boom according to Swedish investigators.
…Swedish and Danish authorities are investigating four holes in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines which link Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea and have become a flashpoint in the Ukraine crisis as gas supplies in Europe run short.
Denmark last month said a preliminary investigation had shown that the leaks were caused by powerful explosions.
“Analysis that has now been carried out shows traces of explosives on several of the objects that were recovered,” the Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a statement, adding that the findings establish the incident as “gross sabotage“.
When the pipelines originally blew, the explosions were significant enough that they registered on seismographs, but not as seismic activity.
…They were built to carry gas from Russia to Germany, but Nord Stream 2 has never been activated and Nord Stream 1 has been out of operation since the start of September. Both, however, were loaded with gas when the ruptures occurred.
Seismologists in Sweden and Denmark recorded underwater blasts near the island of Bornholm on Monday morning and Monday evening, suggesting a deliberate act of sabotage. A seismologist quoted by Svenska Dagbladet did not rule out the possibility of a third blast.
According to German analysts at the time of the ruptures, it took a whale of a lot of explosives to blow them. Besides the blowouts themselves, the longer the pipelines sit empty, the less chance there is of ever repairing the damage, as salt water is extraordinarily corrosive, and that water is very cold.
…Germany’s security agencies believe the damage has made the offshore pipelines “unusable forever”, Tagesspiegel newspaper reported government officials as saying. A source cited by Der Spiegel said German security circles believed the leaks were caused by high-powered explosives equivalent to 500kg of TNT.
Technical experts say the pipelines will become harder to repair once all of the gas has escaped and they fill with seawater and start to corrode. “Ice plugs” blocking the pipes could further hamper repair works.
One section alone has a huge chunk missing out of it.
…A section measuring at least 50 metres (164 feet) is missing from Nord Stream 1, Swedish daily Expressen reported on Oct. 18 after filming what it said were the first publicly released images of the damage.
The repair effort is going to be Herculean if it’s even possible.
At the end of last month, Russia was pointing fingers at the U.K. for blowing the pipelines up, tying it into all sorts of accusations about British involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.
… The Russian ministry said that “British specialists” from the same unit directed Ukrainian drone attacks on ships of Russian Black Sea fleet in Crimea earlier on Saturday that it said were largely repelled by Russian forces, with minor damage to a Russian minesweeper.
“According to available information, representatives of this unit of the British Navy took part in the planning, provision and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on September 26 this year – blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines,” the ministry said.
Naturally, the British brushed off the accusations as little more than the blustering of a frustrated invader.
…”To detract from their disastrous handling of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defence is resorting to peddling false claims of an epic scale,” the British defence ministry said.
“This invented story, says more about arguments going on inside the Russian government than it does about the West.”
So, what’s next ? Identifying the particular explosives used, their origin and, possibly, the culprits.
…The Swedish Security Service said advanced analysis is still ongoing and will take time but will eventually show if anyone can be suspected of being responsible and potentially prosecuted for the leaks.
“The Nord Stream incidents in the Baltic Sea are a very serious matter,” the service said. “Our Service is keeping a close eye on the development and taking the measures needed to fulfil its duty to protect Sweden and its security.”
In addition to continued posturing, finger-pointing, and people freezing.