Putin calls ‘unprecedented sabotage’ that destroyed Nord Stream gas pipeline an act of ‘international terrorism’
- Russian President Vladimir Putin called attack on Nord Stream act of ‘terrorism’
- A Fourth leak has been uncovered in the important undersea gas pipelines
- It is widely suspected that the sabotage was an attack orchestrated by Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the damage to the Nord Stream gas pipelines ‘unprecedented sabotage’ and ‘an act of international terrorism’.
The cause of the leaks along the a major undersea pipelines is yet unknown but Nato have said the incidents were the result of ‘deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage’.
There are now two holes in each pipe, two of which are located in Swedish waters and two in Danish waters, Sweden’s coastguard said today.
Despite Putin’s remarks today in phone call with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, the attack is widely thought to have been orchestrated by Russia.
NATO said the explosions looked like a reckless and irresponsible act of sabotage, and that any deliberate attack against infrastructure of countries in the Western alliance would be met by a ‘united and determined response’.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: ‘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’.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the ‘sabotage’ against Nord Stream is an ‘act of international terrorism’
Thousands of tons of natural gas is now leading into the Baltic Sea, causing a dangerous swell that has disrupted shipping and may cause an environmental catastrophe if the leak cannot be stopped
Norway has deployed the military to protect its gas and oil fields amid fears Russia is preparing attacks, suggesting that the UK – which has two major pipes linked to Norway and dozens of offshore rigs nearby – is also at risk
Russia is widely suspected to be behind the Nord Stream gas explosions which caught the West off – guard, as experts rush to try and explain how Putin might have done it. Explanations range from divers to spy subs, and underwater drones
European security officials saw the Russian Navy support ships on Monday and Tuesday in the vicinity of where four leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipes have since emerged.
Russian submarines were also seen not far from the area in the Baltic Sea last week, CNN reports. European security officials said it is as-yet unclear whether any of those craft were involved, but say the possibility is being investigated as the sightings cast further suspicion on Russia being behind the attacks.
Taken at face value, it seems unlikely that Russia would attack its own multi-billion dollar pipes – but those familiar with Moscow’s ‘hybrid’ style of warfare say it is likely Kremlin mind game to sow uncertainty and a warning to back off Ukraine.
‘It’s all part of the Russian style of political warfare,’ Bryan Clark, a former US navy strategic planner now at the Hudson Institute think tank, said. ‘It’s about sowing doubt, creating just enough fog of uncertainty.’
There are fears that pipelines, rigs and undersea cables that countries including Britain rely upon for energy, banking, stock trading and business could now be targeted, as German interior minister Nancy Faeser today warned leaders to prepare for ‘previously unimaginable’ threats to their nations.
Some have already begun scrambling to shore up their defences, with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in Denmark today for talks which he said ‘addressed the protection of critical infrastructure’. Jonas Gahr Stoere, Norway’s prime minister, said the military would be visibly deployed around oil and gas rigs to protect them.
Mark Galeotti – a Russia expert, former adviser to the foreign office, and now at the Council on Geostrategy – told MailOnline that Putin is ‘likely’ behind the Nord Stream attack and intended it ‘as a warning’.
Coast guard now say there are four leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipes – two in each line – which were likely caused by explosions that happened late Monday and were picked up by seismologists
Putin’s motivation for allegedly targeting his own pipelines could be to cause an all-out global war, an academic has claimed.
Dr Stepan Stepanenko, research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, told MailOnline it shows the Kremlin wants to stop offering energy to its potential enemies.
He said: ‘Although the Kremlin has not taken responsibility for Nord Stream, the global finger of blame is pointing firmly in one direction.
‘At first glance, this act equates to cutting one’s nose off to spite the face, as Putin severs gas supply in the onset of a cold winter, he also cuts the revenue stream from it, harming his war effort.
‘However, to understand why Russia would do this, we have to look at it in the context of the sham referenda taking place in Ukraine.
‘Putin is fast running out of options, he needs to end the conflict with a tangible territorial gain before Russians twig what the rest of the world already knows, he lost the war.
‘By conducting these sham referenda and moving the boarder to make these regions Russian territory, he is backing the West into an ultimatum; liberate these regions and you are directly attacking Russia.
‘In this context, if Nord Stream was indeed targeted by Moscow then we can’t avoid seeing it as Putin’s preparing for a global war, in which supplying gas to Europe would be directly aiding his enemy.’
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