NATO said on Thursday that leaks from the Nord Stream gas pipelines appeared to be sabotage and promised a “determined response” to any attacks on their critical infrastructure.
“All currently available information indicates that this is the result of deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage,” the Western military alliance said in a statement.
“These leaks pose risks to shipping and significant environmental damage. We support investigations underway to determine the origin of the damage,” it said.
The statement said the alliance was “committed to prepare for, deter and defend against the forced use of energy and other hybrid tactics”.
“Any deliberate attack on Allies’ critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response,” it said.
Sweden’s coastguard said on Thursday a fourth leak had been discovered in pipelines running from Russia to Europe after explosions were reported earlier this week.
The massive leaks come as the West and Moscow argue over the conflict in Ukraine and the Kremlin is accused of using its massive energy supplies as a weapon to pressure Europe.
The leaks have created gas plumes underwater, with significant bubbles on the surface of the sea several hundred meters wide, making it impossible to inspect the structures immediately.
Russia has denied being behind the explosions — as has the United States, which said Moscow’s suggestion it would damage the pipeline was “ridiculous”.
The UN Security Council will meet on Friday to discuss the issue.
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