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Four days after leaks spewing gas into the Baltic Sea were first spotted, Russia is blaming the incident on state-sponsored "terrorism”.
“This looks like an act of terrorism, possibly on a state level. It is very difficult to imagine that such an act of a terrorism could have happened without the involvement of a state of some kind," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, as reported by Reuters.
Three leaks--one in the Swedish zone and two in the Danish zone and--were discovered earlier this week in Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines designed to ship natural gas to Germany. On Thursday, Sweden said its coast guard had found a fourth leak.
Russia has also launched a thinly-veiled allusion to the United States, saying the U.S. stood to benefit, in a war of words with the West, over who was responsible. Moscow has previously said the leaks occurred in territory that is "fully under the control" of U.S. intelligence agencies.
Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says that Washington would be able to boost its liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales if the pipelines were put out of use.
The European Union has said that it suspects sabotage was behind the damage off the coasts of Denmark and Sweden as it continues to investigate the cause of the leaks in the Gazprom-led Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines.
Meanwhile, NATO has voiced "deep concern" over the apparent attacks and extensive damage sustained by the Nord Stream pipelines, calling the incidents "deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible acts of sabotage." It remains unclear who might be behind the attacks on the two pipelines that Russia and its European partners spent billions of dollars building.
Citing three sources, CNN has reported that European security officials had observed Russian navy support ships and submarines not far from the leaks while Peskov has countered by claiming that there had been a much larger NATO presence in the area.
Zakharova has called for an EU investigation to be "objective”, saying that Washington would have to "explain itself," apparently in reference to President Joe Biden's comment in February that if Russia sent troops into Ukraine "there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2". However, Biden was more likely referring to possible sanctions on the new pipeline, which has never been put into service despite being completed before Russia invaded Ukraine.
By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com
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Alex Kimani is a veteran finance writer, investor, engineer and researcher for Safehaven.com.
Russia has already cut gas supplies to Germany and the EU via Nord Stream 1 so it didn’t need to sabotage its own pipelines to achieve this. So any accusations against it wouldn’t stand up in a court of law.
But for a country who has had a long history of opposing Soviet and Russian gas and oil pipelines, there is the motive, the enmity towards Russia, the self-interest of replacing Russian gas supplies with its LNG exports and the geopolitical motive for eliminating for ever any dependence by the EU on Russian gas. A judge in a court of law looking at this evidence won’t think twice about who is behind the sabotage.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Global Energy Expert