- Two senior German lawmakers have pointed the finger at Russia over suspected sabotage of Nord Stream.
- The leaking Russia-to-Europe pipelines are spewing natural-gas into the Baltic Sea.
- The Kremlin said claims about Russia’s involvement were “predictably stupid and absurd.”
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Two senior German lawmakers have pointed the finger at Russia over suspected sabotage of the Nord Stream natural-gas pipelines.
Roderich Kiesewetter, a government spokesman for crisis prevention, said in a tweet late Tuesday that the attack was an act of sabotage by Russia to deter and threaten Europe.
Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chairwoman of the Bundestag’s defense committee, also named Russia in comments on the suspected attacks to the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) news network.
European lawmakers had previously left open the question about who the suspected Nord Stream saboteur could be. None have yet definitively blamed Russia, and Russia has denied it was the perpetrator.
“The longer and more brutal the Russian attack on Ukraine lasts, the greater the risk of such unrestrained attacks,” Strack-Zimmermann told RNS of the Nord Stream incident, adding: “It cannot be ruled out that they will be directed by Russia in order to shake our markets.”
In separate comments to RND, Kiesewetter said: “It is likely that Russia is trying in this way, on the one hand, to stir up uncertainty among the European population and, on the other hand, to once again point out at the state level the possibility of an attack on critical infrastructure.”
He added: “Such an act of sabotage would also fit with Russia’s state-terrorism and hybrid approach.”
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that claims of Russian involvement in the Nord Stream incident were “predictably stupid and absurd,” per Kommersant, the Russian newspaper.
Europe, which was heavily reliant on Russian natural-gas imports before Russia invaded Ukraine, is already in the grips of an energy crisis. The damage to the Nord Stream pipelines, and threats by Gazprom, the Kremlin-owned natural-gas giant, to end supplies to Europe through Ukraine, are deepening the crisis as winter approaches and demand for energy rises.
On Monday, Danish and Swedish authorities detected three severe leaks affecting the four Nord Stream pipelines, which run from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea. Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Nord Stream was intended as the main artery for natural-gas exports from Russia to Europe.
Video from the Swedish and Danish militaries show geysers of natural-gas erupting from the surface of the Baltic Sea above the three leaking pipelines.
Danish Defence said Tuesday that one of the leaks was causing sea surface disturbance covering more than 1,000 metres.
European leaders including EU President Ursula van der Leyen and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen have described the Nord Stream incident as non-accidental and sabotage.