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Gas leaks from Russian pipelines to Europe raise sabotage fears: Report

But it remained far from clear who might be behind any foul play, if proven, on the Nord Stream pipelines that Russia with European partners spent billions of dollars building.

Gas leakage | Russia | Europe


Gas leak at Nord Stream 2 as seen from the Danish F-16 interceptor on Bornholm, Denmark (Photo: Reuters)
Gas leak at Nord Stream 2 as seen from the Danish F-16 interceptor on Bornholm, Denmark (Photo: Reuters)

was investigating leaks in two Russian gas pipelines that churned up the Baltic Sea with bubbles on Tuesday and raised concerns from Copenhagen to Moscow about sabotage on infrastructure at the heart of a European standoff.

But it remained far from clear who might be behind any foul play, if proven, on the Nord Stream pipelines that with European partners spent billions of dollars building.

Poland's PM blamed sabotage, without citing evidence, and the Danish premier said it could not be ruled out.

Russia, which has slashed gas deliveries to after the West imposed sanctions, said sabotage was a possibility and the incident undermined the continent's security. A senior Ukrainian official called it a Russian attack to destabilise Europe, without giving proof.

Sweden's Maritime Authority issued a warning about two leaks in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, the day after a leak on the nearby Nord Stream 2 pipeline was discovered that prompted Denmark to restrict shipping and impose a small no fly zone.

Denmark's armed forces released a video showing bubbles boiling up to the surface of the sea. The largest gas leak had caused a surface disturbance of well over 1 km in diameter.

The leaks were very large and it could take perhaps a week for gas to stop draining out of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the head of Denmark’s Agency Kristoffer Bottzauw said.

“The destruction that happened within one day at three lines of the Nord Stream pipeline system is unprecedented,” the operator of Nord Stream said. “It’s impossible now to estimate the timeframe for restoring operations of the gas shipment infrastructure.”

Importance of Nord Stream

Here are details on why the Nord Stream pipeline is crucial in carrying Russian gas to Europe


Even before the Nord Stream 1, the largest single supply route for the Russian gas to Europe, was halted in August, Moscow had cut Nord Stream’s capacity to just 20%, blaming late return of equipment held up in Canada because of sanctions.

The 1,224 km-long Nord Stream 1 consists of two parallel pipelines with nameplate annual capacity of 27.5 billion cubic metres each, running from Vyborg, Russia, to the exit point in Lubmin, Germany.

In Germany, the gas is received by the connecting pipelines OPAL (Baltic Sea Pipeline Link) and NEL (North European Gas Pipeline), which link into the European grid.


The pipeline is majority-owned by (51%). The rest is held by four Western partners — PEGI/E.ON and Wintershall Dea have 15.5% each, and French Engie and Dutch Gasunie hold 9% each.


There are other major pipelines from to Europe, but flows through these have gradually declined.

Flows through the Yamal- pipeline, which historically transported gas from to Europe, have been moving eastwards to Poland from Germany since the start of the year.

Supplies through pipelines running from Russia to Europe via Ukraine have also decreased after Ukraine halted one gas transit route in May.

98,000 Russians enter Kazakhstan

About 98,000 Russians have crossed into since President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of reservists to fight in Ukraine as men seeking to avoid the call-up continued to flee by land and air into neighbouring countries.

Separatist vote over; Russian takeover next?

Russian-organized referendums that could lead to annexing 15 per cent of Ukraine's territory were due to end on Tuesday as the Kremlin said it made no decisions on closing its borders as the first mobilisation since World War Two prompted some to flee.

Voting in the Ukrainian provinces of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the east and southeast began on Friday and have been dismissed as a sham by Western nations, which have pledged not to recognise the results.

In Russia, the call-up of some 300,000 reservists has led to the first sustained protests since the invasion began, with one monitoring group estimating at least 2,000 people have been arrested so far. All public criticism of Russia's “special military operation” is banned.

Flights out of Russia have sold out and cars have clogged border checkpoints, with reports of a 48-hour queue at the sole road border to Georgia, the rare pro-Western neighbour that allows Russian citizens to enter without a visa.

Asked about the prospect of the border being shut, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday: “I don't know anything about this. At the moment, no decisions have been taken on this.”

Russia counts millions of former conscripts as official reservists. The authorities have not spelled out precisely who is due to be called up, as that part of President Vladimir Putin's order is classified.

The mobilisation has also seen the first sustained criticism of the authorities within state-controlled media since the war began.

But Sergei Tsekov, a senior lawmaker who represents Russian-annexed Crimea in Russia's upper house of parliament, told RIA news agency: "Everyone who is of conscription age should be banned from travelling abroad in the current situation."

Two exiled news sites - Meduza and Novaya Gazeta Europe - both reported that the authorities were planning to ban men from leaving, citing unidentified officials.

Moscow says it wants to rid Ukraine of nationalists and protect Russian-speaking communities. Kyiv and the West describe Russia's actions as an unprovoked war of aggression.

Late on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described the military situation in Donetsk as "particularly severe."

"We are doing everything to contain enemy activity. This is our No. 1 goal right now because Donbas is still the No. 1 goal for the occupiers," he said, referring to the wider region that encompasses Donetsk and Luhansk.

Russia carried out at least five attacks on targets in the Odesa region using Iranian drones in the last few days, according to the regional administration.

Ukraine's air force said it destroyed four Shahed-136 "kamikaze" drones. Reuters could not immediately verify the reports.

More U.S. funding looks to be on the way as negotiators of a stop-gap spending bill in Congress have agreed to include nearly $12 billion in new military and economic aid to Ukraine, according to sources.


(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Tue, September 27 2022. 22:00 IST