EU To Hold Meeting Next Week Regarding Nord Stream Gas Pipelines Sabotage

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  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 03/04/2023

An EU source said on Thursday that the event had fundamentally altered the character of the crisis in Ukraine and that EU leaders will examine it next week. The club has condemned sabotage on the underwater Nord Stream gas pipelines.

It remained unknown who may be behind any purposeful attack on the pipelines that Russia and European allies spent billions of dollars constructing as gas continued to spill into the Baltic Sea for a fourth day after breaches were first discovered.

The leaks off the shores of Denmark and Sweden took place in area that was “completely under the authority” of U.S. intelligence services, according to Russia, which also stated the occurrences seemed to be “an act of terrorism.”

An EU official in Brussels stated that “the attack on critical infrastructure means that the strategic infrastructure in the entire EU needs to be defended.”

The official stated, alluding to Russia’s increased army mobilization for the Ukraine war and anticipation that President Vladimir Putin will annex Ukrainian territory, that “this changes fundamentally the character of the battle as we have seen it so far.”

The EU summit on October 7 in Prague is expected to be dominated by Russia’s conflict with Ukraine and the ensuing energy stalemate between Moscow and Europe, which has the EU rushing to secure alternative gas suppliers.

On Wednesday, the European Union emphasized the need to defend its energy infrastructure and threatened a “strong and coordinated reaction” if there were any more assaults. However, EU officials refrained from naming specific individuals as potential sabotage offenders.

When the leaks were originally discovered on Monday, the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were not sending gas to Europe but still contained gas. According to Russia, activities on Nord Stream 1 have been suspended because of Western sanctions. Nord Stream 2 hadn’t yet begun conducting business.

Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, has suggested an eighth package of sanctions against Russia that includes harsher trade restrictions, additional blacklistings, and an oil price ceiling for third-party nations. EU leaders will examine this proposal next week.

The EU official stated that he anticipated the 27-nation group to reach consensus on some of the trade restrictions relating to steel and technology as well as other elements of the sanctions package before the Prague meeting.

He noted that it’s possible that issues like the oil price ceiling and bank sanctions won’t be resolved before the meeting.

Sanctions must be approved by all EU member states, and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who maintains strong links with Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been a vociferous opponent of economic restraints, may find the oil price ceiling to be too much to bear.

Despite not naming anyone, International Energy Agency (IEA) chief Fatih Birol said during a press conference on Thursday that it was “quite evident” who was responsible for the alleged sabotage of the pipelines.

“It is extremely evident who was behind this issue,” he said in Paris. “It is not yet known who manufactured it, who is behind this sabotage, there is still discussion more or less.”

According to a spokesman who talked to the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden’s coastguard spotted a fourth gas leak on the damaged pipes earlier this week.

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