Russia says it should be part of Nord Stream leaks probe

Moscow said on Wednesday it should be part of the probe into leaks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines, after Sweden blocked off the area around the pipelines pending an investigation.

Russia says it should be part of Nord Stream leaks probe
(FILES) This file photo taken on February 23, 2021 shows pipes for the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline stacked at Houstrup Strand, near Noerre Nebel, Jutland, Denmark. Photo: John Randeris Hansen/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP

“There should really be an investigation. Naturally, with the participation of Russia,” Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Vershinin said, as quoted by Russian news agencies.

Four leaks were discovered last week on the Nord Stream pipelines connecting Russia to Germany, raising political tensions already sky high since the Kremlin sent troop to Ukraine in February.

On Friday, the UN Security Council held a meeting on the issue. Vershinin told the assembly that “the general opinion was that this was sabotage and that it should be investigated” but that “no decision had been made” on an international probe.

Last Wednesday, Russia launched an “international terrorism” investigation. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said such a probe “required the cooperation of several countries”.

He denounced an “acute shortage of communications and unwillingness of many countries to contact” Russia.

On Monday, Sweden blocked off the area around the pipeline leaks in the Baltic Sea while the suspected sabotage was being investigated.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of being behind the blasts.

Russia’s Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev said Wednesday that “it is clear that the United States is the beneficiary, primarily economic” of the leaks.

Both Moscow and Washington have denied involvement.

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Denmark reduces energy infrastructure alert level

Denmark's electricity and gas grid operator on Thursday lowered its vigilance level, which had been raised considerably after sabotage hit the Nord Stream gas pipelines off the Danish coast in late September.

Denmark reduces energy infrastructure alert level

The vigilance level has now been reduced to “green”, its second lowest level, after it was already lowered one step, from “orange” to “yellow” at the end of October, Energinet said in a statement.

The move followed a request from the Danish Energy Agency to lower the vigilance level after “an analysis of the threat level”, the grid operator explained.

Four large gas leaks were discovered on Nord Stream’s two pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm at the end of September, with seismic institutes recording two underwater explosions just prior.

While the leaks were in international waters, two of them were in the Danish exclusive economic zone and two in Sweden’s.

Investigations by Danish and Swedish authorities have confirmed the leaks were due to sabotage and experts have said that only a state has the means to carry out such an operation.

But investigations have not identified who was responsible.

In early November, Moscow accused Britain of “directing and coordinating” the explosions.

The accusation was rejected as “distractions which are part of the Russian playbook” by a spokesman for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Although the pipelines were not in operation when the leaks occurred, they both still contained gas which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre announced at the end of November that they had launched an initiative within NATO to better protect maritime infrastructures.