Wednesday, December 7

Germany considers that the Russian Nord Stream gas pipelines have been rendered useless forever

The German authorities consider that the leaks detected in the Russian gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2 in Baltic waters have rendered that infrastructure useless forever, according to German government sources quoted on Wednesday by the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. According to this information, the evaluations carried out so far indicate that the damage cannot be repaired quickly, which will cause seawater to seep into the pipes and irreversibly corrode the walls.

These reports come amid growing tension between Europe and Russia in the face of signs that the leaks were not an accident but a deliberate action. Yesterday afternoon, several seismographs sent reports with data from Monday, before the pressure drop in the tubes, which showed peaks similar to those of an explosion. Given these data, the Governments of Sweden and Denmark indicated yesterday that the most likely cause was an “intentional act”.

“The clear assessment of the authorities is that it is an intentional act and not an accident,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a press conference, while her Swedish counterpart, Magdalena Andersson, concluded an hour later, in another subsequent appearance in Stockholm, that “probably” what happened is due to “sabotage”. Neither of them speculated on the motive or the author of those acts.

The European Union, without going into speculation, has warned that it will react with a “strong and united response” to any “deliberate interruption of the European energy infrastructure”. The German government, which yesterday was cautious when assessing what happened, has also pointed this Tuesday to a possible sabotage. “The alleged act of sabotage in the gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea reminds us once again that we depend on critical infrastructure, also underwater” and the damage to said pipelines “also shows us how important it is for the security of our country and that of our allies a strong navy within an operational Bundeswehr”, said the Minister of Defense, Christine Lambrecht.

Poland has also paved the way for suspicion. The deputy foreign minister of that country, Marcin Przydacz, has assured that “no scenario can be ruled out” and has pointed to a possible Russian “provocation”. Mykhailo Podolyak, the main adviser to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has directly accused Russia of perpetrating a “terrorist attack” on Europe with this sabotage. “Russia wants to destabilize Europe and cause panic before winter,” he considered.

Russia will request a session of the Security Council

Although neither the European Union nor the main countries affected by the leak (Germany, Sweden and Denmark) have directly pointed to Russia, the Kremlin has felt challenged by the air accusations of sabotage, which it has described as “absurd”. “This was quite predictable, it was predictably silly and absurd to advance those versions,” said the government spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, in his daily press conference, in which he pointed out the importance for Russia of the loss of gas to through the holes in the ducts. “The two threads of the Nord Stream are full of gas, the systems are ready to pump and this gas is very expensive,” he said in statements collected by the EFE agency.

Shortly after, the spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, María Zajárova, has advanced that her government will request a session of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the leaks. “Russia intends to convene an official session of the UN Security Council in relation to the provocations against the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines,” she has stated on her Telegram channel.

The investigation will have to wait weeks

While this exchange of accusations takes place, the gas continues to bubble to the surface. Methane, the main component of natural gas, partially dissolves at great depths and does not pose a health risk if inhaled in limited amounts, but becomes dangerous as it comes into contact with the air, something that would already be happening according to the images that the Danish Navy has released, in which you can see a plate about a kilometer in diameter. Greenpeace calculates that the leaks could have “the same climate destruction potential as 30 million tons of carbon dioxide.

Danish Defense Minister Morten Bødskov warned on Wednesday that the investigation into what happened may take several weeks until it is safe to inspect the area. “It’s going to take time. If you listen to those who know how much gas is in the pipes and how long it will take for the pressure to drop, the reality is that it can take a week or 14 days for the area to be calm enough,” Bødskov told the Danish agency Ritzau, after a meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Bødskov made these statements after meeting there with the secretary general of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, who on his Twitter account also spoke of “sabotage” and revealed that they had discussed the protection of the critical infrastructure of the allied countries. “We discussed the sabotage on the Nord Stream gas pipelines with Defense Minister Morten Bodskov. We address the protection of critical infrastructure of NATO countries”, Stoltenberg said.

In parallel, the gas pipeline operator has indicated that everything suggests that “physical damage” has occurred in the Baltic Sea in the energy infrastructure, and has assured that it has begun to mobilize all the necessary resources to study the causes of the incident. “The significant drop in pressure caused by the gas leak in both threads of the Nord Stream gas pipeline recorded on Monday, leads to a strong assumption that physical damage has been caused,” Nord Stream AG said in a statement. based in Switzerland.

Both gas pipelines were out of service: the Nord Stream 1, with a capacity of 55,000 million cubic meters, has been stopped for weeks after Russia alleges an oil leak in the only Russian compressor station that was still operating. Moscow affirms that the affected turbine, like the others that are failing, cannot be repaired due to Western sanctions, while the European Union (EU) considers that it is an excuse to “blackmail” Europe with gas. as a weapon

The construction of the second section of this gas pipeline had been decided in 2011, the same year that the first came into operation, but it has never been in operation. It was scheduled to do so this year, but Germany suspended the approval process shortly before the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, when the Kremlin approved the illegal annexation of the Ukrainian territories of Donbas.