On September 26, Denmark and Sweden almost simultaneously announced a gas leak from Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the Baltic sea. 2 leaks per economic zone of each of the 2 states. Despite the fact that Nord Stream 1 was shut down and Nord Stream 2 even was not started, there was gas under pressure in each of the pipes. Most of this gas is methane. More than half of the gas has already leaked out, and there are no containment mechanisms in the pipelines, the rest of the gas will leak out before October 1. Andrew Baxter, director of energy strategy for the Environmental Defense Fund, said he estimated that about 115.000 metric tons of methane had been released into the environment.
To date, this may be the largest gas leak in human history. According to German estimates, about 300.000 metric tons of methane, which is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, was emitted into the atmosphere. This amount of gas is enough to affect the environment for another 20 years, with an annual gas emission capacity of 5.48 million cars.
This severe event carries a danger not only because of the ecological catastrophe. Several countries and organizations have already spoken out about the disaster and called it sabotage and deliberate action of Russia. On September 28, Finland declared that a catastrophe of this magnitude could only have been created at the state level. In turn, Poland immediately pointed to the direct participation of Russia in the gas leak and the violation of the economic security of Europe. Norway, as Europe's largest gas importer, said that it will be strengthening the security of its water assets, while Germany and the US bluntly declared that the situation with the Nord Stream pipelines looks like sabotage. And each of them is right because Russia has been putting pressure on Europe and Ukraine for months, using gas blackmail: unscheduled "work", denial and reduction of gas supplies. And when Europe stocked up on gas for the heating season, launched Baltic Pipe and began to focus on alternative energy sources, "suddenly" appeared 4 almost simultaneous explosions on both Nord Streams.
A curious study was published on the Spiegel portal on September 29th. According to the German security authorities, the explosion on the pipeline was not accidental but created using highly effective explosive devices. To create destruction of this magnitude, it was necessary to use a minimum of 500 kilograms of TNT.
The Times also confirms that the explosion of Nord Stream 1-2 is a pre-arranged and well-thought-out operation. Referring to sources in the British Ministry of defence, powerful explosives were used to blow up the pipes. Moreover, the substance that was used for the explosion was dumped into the sea a few weeks before the explosion.
To divert attention from itself, Russia tried to blame the United States for the tragedy. The Russian media took Joe Biden's words as the basis for their arguments that if Russia attacked Ukraine — Nord Stream would be buried. In turn, the US said they had nothing to do with the explosion: "We were absolutely not involved," commented a Pentagon official.
On September 29, NATO released a statement that the deliberate disruption of pipelines would have an answer.
"All currently available information indicates that this is the result of deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible acts of sabotage. These leaks are causing risks to shipping and substantial environmental damage. We support the investigations underway to determine the origin of the damage," NATO.
Peter Stano, the lead spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy of the Europe Union, said that the environment and security are of paramount importance, and explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines are not a coincidence and affect everyone.
"All available information indicates those leaks result from a deliberate act. We will support any investigation aimed at getting full clarity on what happened and why and will take further steps to increase our resilience in energy security. Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response," Peter Stano.
The other day, on the territories of Russia temporarily controlled by the Russian occupiers, a pseudo-referendum was held on the accession of these territories — Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson regions — to Russia. The annexation of the Ukrainian regions is planned for implementation tomorrow, September 30th. Estonian defence minister Hanno Pevkura said the Nord Stream explosion was Russian sabotage to divert public attention from Russia's criminal activities.
"Russia would like European countries, NATO allies to take care of their internal affairs. This is all so that Russia can calmly deal with Ukraine. In the near future, a legal, in Russia's opinion, dismemberment of Ukraine should occur, and it promised to defend itself with all its nuclear power. And if Russia resorts to such a terrorist operation, then we should think about overseeing our strategic infrastructure because what is possible underwater can happen on land. In fact, this is happening in the economic zone of the allies," Hanno Pevkur.
"Now imagine: one fine day, the international media reports that Russian warships are sent to the Danish straits to protect the pipeline during the repair, and, surprise-surprise — they create some kind of air defence bubble there, thereby blocking access to the Baltic sea. Russia does not take a single step without a strategic interest," minister Pevkur continued.
Another reason for Russian sabotage may be an attempt to justify Gazprom's termination of gas supplies to Europe due to force majeure. Thus, Russia will not have to pay fines for overdue contracts. We remind you that Russia tried to achieve the lifting of sanctions under various pretexts, cutting off gas supplies to the EU countries. However, this threatened Russia with litigation in the arbitration court.
Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson called the gas leaks "probably intentional" but "not an attack on Sweden." At the same time, Swedish defence minister Peter Hultqvist said the Swedish Marine Corps would be nearby "if deemed necessary."
Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen called the pipe explosions "deliberate acts," and energy minister Dan Jannik Jørgensen has bluntly expressed the idea that the explosions caused the damage.
Norwegian oil and energy minister Terje Aasland: "The facts point to acts of sabotage."
Ursula von der Leyen: "Any deliberate disruption of Europe's active energy infrastructure is unacceptable and will result in the most severe possible response."
Josep Borrell: "All available information indicates that these origins are the result of a deliberate act."
Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, confirmed the international view of "clear sabotage" after speaking with a Danish counterpart.
German economy minister Robert Habeck said that the security agencies of Germany, Denmark and Sweden are now studying the site of the tragedy and stressed that Europe is able to defend itself. Due to the high risk of ignition of flammable methane, states have placed their ships in the area of gas breakthroughs.