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Who sabotaged Baltic Sea pipelines? Russia blames West after EU says it’s Putin

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It is expected that Moscow had materials which indicated the West had a role in ruptures to the undersea Nord Stream pipelines that have threatened to put them out of use, according to Russia’s top spy as quoted by Russian news agencies.

Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency accused the West of doing ‘everything it could’ to cover up the perpetrators of what Moscow has called a ‘terrorist attack’ on the Baltic Sea gas pipelines between Russia and Europe.

Sabotage is the most likely cause of leaks in two Baltic Sea gas pipelines between Russia and Europe, European leaders said Tuesday, after seismologists reported explosions around the Nord Stream pipelines.

EU chief Ursula Von der Leyen said “sabotage” caused the leaks. She threatened the “strongest possible response” to any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure.

Photos taken by the Danish military showed large areas of bubbles on the surface of the water, emanating from the three leaks in Sweden and Denmark’s economic zones north of Poland, from 200 to 1,000 metres (656 feet to 0.62 miles) in diameter.

One of the leaks on Nord Stream 1 occurred in the Danish economic zone and the other in the Swedish economic zone, while the Nord Stream 2 leak was in the Danish economic zone.

A leak was first reported on Nord Stream 2 on Monday.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions in recent months as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen described them as “deliberate acts”, saying: “We are not talking about an accident”.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the leaks were an act of sabotage that “probably marks the next step of escalation of the situation in Ukraine”.

And Sweden’s outgoing Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said “there have been detonations”, although foreign minister Ann Linde said they would not “speculate on motives or actors”.

Two “massive releases of energy” were recorded by the Swedish National Seismic Network shortly before the gas leaks near their locations off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm, Uppsala University seismologist Peter Schmidt told AFP.

Asked by reporters whether it could be an act of sabotage, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that at the moment “it is impossible to exclude any options”.

But Ukraine said it was “nothing more than a terrorist attack planned by Russia and an act of aggression towards the EU”.

The pipelines are operated by a consortium majority-owned by Russian gas firm Gazprom.

(With inputs from agencies)

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