Stockholm: Sweden sent a diving vessel on Monday to the site of Russian gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea that burst last week following shoots in nearby areas, to probe an incident that has added new tension to Europe’s energy crisis.
Europe is investigating what caused three pipelines in the Nord Stream network to burst in an act of suspected harm near Swedish and Danish waters that Moscow immediately sought to pin on the West, suggesting the United States stood to gain.
Nord Stream, which runs from Russia to Germany, has been at the center of a growing gas supply crisis in Europe, which until recently depended vigorously on Russian fuel, sending prices taking off. Several European Union states have triggered emergency plans that might prompt rationing as they race to find alternative supplies, while England now faces a significant risk of gas shortages this winter.
The Swedish coast guard said Nord Stream 1 had stopped leaking, but an overflight proposed gas was still draining out of Nord Stream 2 and rising to the surface over a 30-meter (32-yard) radius.
The Kremlin doubled down on allegations that the West was at fault for the breaks on Monday, saying that the US was able to increase sales and costs of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) subsequently. Washington has strongly denied any involvement. European nations suspect sabotage but have declined to say who could be behind it.
Kremlin-controlled Gazprom (GAZP.MM) likewise said flows could continue at the last remaining intact pipeline in the Nord Stream 2 network, an idea likely to be repelled given Europe blocked Nord Stream 2 on the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
“If a decision is made to start deliveries through Nord Stream 2’s line B, natural gas will be pumped into the pipeline after the integrity of the system has been checked and verified by supervisory authorities,” Gazprom said.
The idea follows remarks by Russia’s deputy prime minister on Sunday that the Nord Stream network could be fixed, given time and enough assets.