The US is supporting efforts to investigate the 'apparent sabotage' of the Nord Stream pipelines, national security advisor says
- The US national security advisor on Tuesday described the Nord Stream leaks as "apparent sabotage."
- He tweeted that the US was supporting efforts to investigate the leaks.
The US national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, used the phrase "apparent sabotage" Tuesday to describe leaks in key pipelines connecting Russia and Europe, and he underscored US efforts to aid in the investigation into the incidents.
"I spoke to my counterpart Jean-Charles Ellermann-Kingombe of Denmark about the apparent sabotage of Nord Stream pipelines," Sullivan tweeted Tuesday night. "The U.S. is supporting efforts to investigate and we will continue our work to safeguard Europe's energy security."
—Jake Sullivan (@JakeSullivan46) September 28, 2022
The leak in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was discovered in the Danish part of the Baltic Sea on Monday, the Danish Energy Agency wrote in an announcement. "The Danish Maritime Authority has released a navigational warning and established a prohibitive no sail zone around the area," the agency added.
A press representative for the Swedish Maritime Authority told Insider the agency was informed about one leak on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm. Later the same day, it learned of two separate leaks on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline northeast of Bornholm.
Sullivan's comments echo similar statements from Germany, where government officials are said to believe the pipelines were sabotaged.
Der Tagesspiegel, a newspaper in Germany, reported a government source as saying: "We can't imagine a scenario that isn't a targeted attack. Everything speaks against a coincidence." A representative for Germany's economy ministry told Insider it "doesn't participate in speculation." Germany's energy regulator, the Federal Network Agency, said in an email it was working to clarify the situation.
Later Tuesday, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said it was "difficult to imagine" the damage was accidental.
On Tuesday, the Kremlin also said it couldn't rule out sabotage, per Reuters.
Following the incident, governments around the region issued warnings to ships to not sail within 5 nautical miles of the leaks.
The Danish Navy sent an Absalon-class frigate to the site of the leaks for monitoring purposes and to warn ships to stay away, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation reported Tuesday. A German government official told Insider a no-fly zone was in operation over the affected area.
The incidents on the Nord Stream pipelines could exacerbate Europe's energy crisis this winter, given that Russia typically supplies about 40% of Europe's natural gas, most of which is transported via pipelines.
Russia exported about 155 billion cubic meters of the fuel to Europe in 2021 — and more than one-third came from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, per Reuters.
The Russian state-controlled gas giant Gazprom turned off its gas supply to Europe via Nord Stream 1 in September, citing technical reasons.
The Nord Stream 2 natural-gas pipeline, which runs parallel to Nord Stream 1, has never been operational because Germany shelved the project in February, days before Russia invaded Ukraine. Construction on the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline was completed in September 2021.
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