Blasts precede Baltic pipeline leaks; sabotage suspected

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Denmark believes “deliberate acts” were the cause of two large leaks in natural gas pipelines flowing beneath the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany and seismologists reported massive explosions before the spills. In the midst of the energy stalemate with Russia brought on by the war in Ukraine, European policymakers and experts raised the possibility of sabotage.

“It is the authorities’ clear assessment that these are deliberate actions — not accidents,” Mette Frederiksen, the Danish prime minister, stated on Tuesday. But she also said “there is no information indicating who could be behind it.”

Given that the leaks happened in international seas, Frederiksen rejected the idea that the incident represented an assault on Denmark.

The incident overshadowed Poland’s long-awaited pipeline’s opening, which would have decreased the continent’s energy dependence on Moscow by bringing Norwegian gas there.

According to Bjorn Lund, director of the Swedish National Seismic Network, the first explosion was recorded early on Monday, southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm. The following evening, a second, more powerful blast at the northeast of the island was comparable to an earthquake of 2.3 rickter scale. Additionally, seismic sensors in Finland, Norway, and Denmark recorded the explosions.

Dan Jørgensen, the energy minister for Denmark, stated that because the gas has not been shut off, “we cannot say how long the leak will go.” When the gas would be switched off was not specified.

Nord Stream AG, who operates the pipelines from Germany, announced that a survey to evaluate the damage is currently being prepared.

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