What is being touted as potential sabotage on the Russian Nord Stream gas pipelines might have dealt them irreparable damage, Germany’s Tagesspiegel reported on Wednesday, citing “government circles.” The two pipelines were seriously damaged earlier this week.
If the damage is not repaired quickly enough, too much salty sea water could run into the pipes lying at the bottom of the Baltic Sea and irreversibly corrode them, German officials have warned, according to the news media outlet. Denmark said on Wednesday that its authorities would be able to launch a probe into the issue no sooner than in a week or two due to “safety concerns,” Tagesspiegel added.
The media outlet does not mention any plans for repair work by either Russia or Germany.
A group of senior German MPs were quick to point the finger at Russia and blame Moscow for the incident. “An attack on the energy supply infrastructure is intended to spread fear and terror,” Roderich Kiesewetter, a German MP and spokesman for crisis prevention for the Conservative Union parliamentary group, told the RND media group.
“Therefore, it is likely that Russia is trying … to stir up uncertainty among the European population” and supposedly demonstrate its ability to attack critical infrastructure, he added, accusing Moscow of employing a “state terrorism” approach.
The head of the German parliament’s Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, told journalists that “it cannot be ruled out that [such attacks] will be directed by Russia in order to shake our markets.” She also used the occasion to call on Germany and the EU to “free” themselves from the “dependence on Russian raw materials as quickly as possible.”
Danish authorities confirmed leaks on the pipelines on Monday after their operator reported a loss of pressure on both Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines earlier that day. Danish and Swedish authorities then spoke of a series of undersea explosions in the area. Russian, American, and Swedish authorities said the leaks might have been the result of a deliberate attack.
The EU vowed “the strongest possible response” to any attacks on its active energy infrastructure but stopped short of naming any suspects in the Nord Stream incident. Russia branded the incident a “terrorist attack” and said it would summon a UN Security Council meeting over it.
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