Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen arrives for the second day meeting of the European Union special summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Oct 2, 2020. (EUROPEAN UNION / HANDOUT VIA XINHUA)
BRUSSELS / COPENHAGEN – The EU on Wednesday rushed to ramp up security safeguarding the bloc's energy infrastructure in response to what it called acts of sabotage on the Nord Stream pipelines, while warning of a "robust and united response" should there be more attacks.
Denmark and Sweden on Tuesday said major leaks on the two Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea were caused by deliberate acts of sabotage carried out in each of the two countries' exclusive economic zones.
Neither pipeline was in operation amid an energy standoff between Russia and Europe. Moscow has slashed gas deliveries to Europe after the West imposed sanctions over Moscow's special military operation in Ukraine.
The gas pipes lie at a depth of 70 to 90 meters and consist of over 12-centimeter thick layers of steel and concrete, respectively. The nature of the leaks indicates that there are such large holes that it cannot have happened by accident.
Dan Jorgensen, minister for climate, energy and utilities of Denmark
On Monday, Danish and Swedish officials said that leaks had been identified in two natural gas pipelines — Nord Stream 1 and its twin, Nord Stream 2 — under the Baltic Sea off the coast of Denmark's Bornholm island, near the exclusive economic zones of Denmark and Sweden.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that "two explosions" have been registered, but she refused to speculate as to who might be responsible.
Dan Jorgensen, minister for climate, energy and utilities, said that "The gas pipes lie at a depth of 70 to 90 meters and consist of over 12-centimeter thick layers of steel and concrete, respectively. The nature of the leaks indicates that there are such large holes that it cannot have happened by accident."
He said that the leaks are not expected to cause supply security issues in the short term.
READ MORE: Sweden, Denmark raise alert after leaks on gas pipeline
The European Union warned of a strong response should any of the bloc's active infrastructure be attacked.
"Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement on Wednesday.
Photo taken on Sept 14, 2022 shows the facilities of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline in Lubmin, Germany. (REN PENGFEI / XINHUA)
Citing Denmark's foreign intelligence service, Defense Minister Morten Bodskov said that it did not see any increased military threat against Denmark after the leaks.
"I would like to emphasize that the defense intelligence service does not consider that there is an increased military threat to Denmark," Defense Minister Morten Bodskov said.
He added that no advance warnings had been received, but that there had been an increase in tensions around the Baltic Sea.
"This is a serious matter. The defense is increasing its presence around Bornholm," he said.
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Bodskov has a previously scheduled meeting dedicated to the Nord Stream pipelines with Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Wednesday morning.