Russia says Nord Stream could suffer from state-sponsored ‘terrorism’

  • Damage to Kremlin Pipes Looks Like ‘Terrorism’
  • EU official says leaks are changing nature of Ukraine conflict
  • European officials say Russian ships spotted nearby -CNN

MOSCOW/BRUSSELS, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Russia said on Thursday that gas leaks from pipelines to Germany in the Baltic Sea appeared to be the result of state-sponsored “terrorism”, an incident that marked a fundamental change, an EU official said. The nature of the conflict in Ukraine.

The EU is investigating the cause of the spill, led by Gazprom (GAZP.MM) Sabotage is suspected behind the damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines and the coasts of Denmark and Sweden.

Four days after the leaks were first discovered, it remains unclear who is behind the attack on the pipelines, which Russia and its European partners have spent billions of dollars on.

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“This appears to be an act of terrorism, possibly at the state level,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding: “It is very difficult to imagine that such an act of terrorism could have taken place without the intervention of any state.”.

Russia also said the US was benefiting from a war of words with the West over who was responsible. Moscow previously said the leaks came from an area “under the full control” of US intelligence agencies.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news conference that Washington could increase its liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales if it did not use the pipelines.

But US news channel CNN, citing three sources, said European defense officials had observed Russian naval support ships and submarines far away from the leaks.

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Asked to comment on the CNN report, Peskov said there was a very large NATO presence in the region.

Zakharova called the EU investigation “objective” and said Washington should “explain itself” — echoing President Joe Biden’s comments in February that if Russia invades Ukraine, “there will be no more Nord Stream 2.” .

The White House has rejected Russian accusations that it was responsible for the damage to Nord Stream, and Biden’s comments referred to efforts at the time to obtain certification to bring Nord Stream 2 into commercial use.

Leaks from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline will stop on Monday, the pipeline’s operator told Reuters.

But a spokeswoman for Nord Stream AG said it could not provide any forecasts for future operation of the pipeline until the damage was assessed.

Russia halted supplies via Nord Stream 1, saying Western sanctions were hampering operations.

Although neither pipeline was delivering gas to Europe when the leaks were first discovered, both contained gas.

European leaders and Moscow say they cannot rule out sabotage. Map of Nord Stream pipelines and locations where leaks are reported

‘strong response’

EU leaders will discuss the effects of the damage at a summit in Prague next week, an EU official said.

“The entire EU’s strategic infrastructure must be protected,” said an EU official in Brussels.

“It changes the nature of the conflict that we’ve seen so far, like mobilization … and possible annexation,” the EU official said, referring to Russia’s mobilization of more troops for the war and President Vladimir Putin’s expectations. Connecting Ukrainian regions.

Russia’s war with Ukraine and the energy standoff between Moscow and Europe, which has left the EU scrambling to find alternative gas supplies, are set to dominate an EU summit on October 7.

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The European Union on Wednesday warned of a “strong and united response” and stressed the need to protect the attacks and its energy infrastructure, but EU officials refrained from directly pointing out potential perpetrators.

Next week, EU leaders will discuss an eighth round of sanctions on Russia, proposed by European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen, which includes tougher trade restrictions, more blacklists and oil price caps for third countries.

An EU official said he expected the 27-nation bloc to agree on parts of the sanctions package before the summit.

Other topics such as the oil price ceiling or the approval of banks may not be resolved before the summit, he said.

EU countries need a consensus to impose sanctions and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been a vocal critic, saying the sanctions have “backfired”, raising energy prices and a blow to European economies.

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By Alexander Smith; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Edmund Blair

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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