NATO criticizes “sabotage” of a pipeline when assessing environmental costs

Yesterday, NATO issued its harshest statement yet on the cracks in the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea, describing the damage as the result of “deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage.”

The underwater blasts have raised tensions in northern Europe and fueled fears that the war in Ukraine could spill over into vital energy infrastructure – as well as concerns about the environmental impact of the leaks.

Images released yesterday by the Swedish Coast Guard show a large mass of methane bubbles on the sea surface stemming from the leak in the two Nord Stream 1 pipelines and a smaller mass over the single Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The statement noted that there are four leaks in the three pipelines, not three as was widely reported.

The NATO statement said any deliberate attack on infrastructure by a member of the 30-nation bloc would be “met with a unified and decisive response,” echoing the EU’s warning from the previous day of a “robust and unified response.” reflects all attacks on the energy infrastructure.

An EU official reiterated yesterday that the damage to the pipelines was “no coincidence”.

When asked what Europe would do in response to the sabotage, the official said there was “a lot of coordination and discussion between member states” but declined to go into details.

Danish and Swedish authorities have ruled out natural causes for the explosions discovered on Monday that caused the leaks.


A gas leak from Nord Stream 1 can be seen in Sweden’s economic zone in the Baltic Sea in this image taken by the Swedish Coast Guard aircraft on September 28, 2022. Swedish Coast Guard/Handout via TT news agency/via REUTERS

The Swedish National Seismic Network (SNSN) registered two different blasts near the Danish island of Bornholm and said they are similar in nature to blasts from Swedish military exercises, which they regularly monitor.

“This looks like other explosions,” Björn Lund, director of the network, told reporters.

He warned that it was a preliminary estimate and said the strength of the larger second blast was equivalent to 100-200kg of TNT.

The first was smaller and consequently more difficult to measure.

With the consensus among European leaders that sabotage was involved, suspicion is increasingly falling on Russia, which has been using energy supplies as a bargaining chip against Europe since invading Ukraine.

Russian Navy ships were sighted near the leaks Monday and Tuesday, Western intelligence officials told CNN.

It is not clear if these ships were in any way involved in the pipeline explosions.

The Kremlin responded to the accusation, noting that there was a major NATO presence in the area.

It is not uncommon for naval ships from both NATO countries and Russia to be present in the strategically important Baltic Sea region.

The Kremlin has denied responsibility for the incident and yesterday suggested the incidents should be investigated as an “act of terrorism” and said a coordinated international investigation was needed as Russia is the majority owner of both pipelines.

While experts say the resulting gas leak may be the largest single release of methane gas into the atmosphere, it may not have been enough to have a major impact on climate change.
A worst-case calculation by the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences in France has put it on par with what accounts for about a million cars a year – a comparatively small increase on the amount currently generated by the EU’s 250 million cars will be in 2020.

©Washington Post NATO criticizes “sabotage” of a pipeline when assessing environmental costs

Fry Electronics Team

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