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NATO Says Nord Stream Pipeline Leaks Caused by Sabotage, Prompting Increased Security

European nations take precautionary measures to secure oil and gas platforms as the military alliance promises a united response to deter and defend against hybrid attacks.
NATO Says Nord Stream Pipeline Leaks Caused by Sabotage, Prompting Increased Security

NATO said that a series of leaks on the Nord Stream pipelines between Russia and Europe were the result of sabotage and that attacks on its members’ infrastructure would be met with a collective response from the military alliance, reports the Wall Street Journal.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg separately wrote on Twitter that the sabotage on the pipelines was of "deep concern." He wrote, "NATO is committed to deter and defend against hybrid attacks. Any deliberate attack against Allies’ critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response."

NATO Formally Blames Sabotage for Nord Stream Pipeline Damage (Wall Street Journal)

Excerpt from the Wall Street Journal: The statement, from the North Atlantic Council, the decision-making body of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, didn’t provide details or evidence. It also noted that the damage to the pipelines occurred in international waters. But it marks the first time the alliance has formally warned that it would deter and defend against attacks on its members’ critical infrastructure following the now four documented leaks in the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines. At a NATO meeting Wednesday evening, Danish officials said the pipelines were damaged by two explosions on Monday, each with the force of about 1,100 pounds of TNT, officials familiar with the discussions said. Swedish and Danish authorities said Thursday that a total of four leaks—two in the waters of each country—had been verified. The Swedish Coast Guard said the fourth leak—the second in Swedish waters-—was discovered earlier this week around the same time as the first. The second leak is smaller, and emissions from that leak are weakening, according to the agency’s ongoing surveillance of the site.
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According to BBC News, the US has said it "seems" Russia is to blame for this week's leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines. US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told the BBC an investigation was being carried out into the cause of what she called "an act of sabotage", adding "it is highly unlikely that these incidents are coincidence"

US suggests Russia could be behind Nord Stream gas leaks (BBC News)

Excerpt from BBC News: No evidence about how the leaks happened has been made public. Russia has dismissed suggestions that it was to blame. It said claims it had damaged the pipelines were "stupid and absurd". President Putin described the damage as "unprecedented sabotage, in fact, an act of international terrorism" during a phone call with Turkey's President Erdogan, according to the Kremlin, which added Russia plans to bring it up for "urgent discussion" at the UN Security Council. Earlier Russia's Foreign Ministry suggest it was the US that stood to benefit from the pipeline being out of action because it would be able to increase its own natural gas sales. The White House has dismissed such suggestions.
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In a related story from the Guardian, British authorities are taking "precautionary" steps to ensure UK oil rigs are not vulnerable to interference after drones were spotted near Norwegian rigs and the Nord Stream pipelines were damaged.

UK energy firms to assess oil rig security after Nord Stream pipeline leak (Guardian)

Excerpt from the Guardian: Executives in the energy industry are coordinating efforts with government agencies to assess security arrangements at offshore and onshore sites, to determine whether any best practices employed in other countries, in particular Norway, should be introduced. If the situation escalates, MI5, the Royal Navy and RAF could be called on to provide support for the industry. On Monday, Norway’s oil safety regulator urged oil companies to be more vigilant over unidentified drones seen flying near Norwegian offshore oil and gas platforms. It warned they could pose a risk of accidents or attacks. The developments have prompted the UK energy industry and officials to review risks to its sites.
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And in another related story about the UK, the British pound on Friday briefly returned to where it was a week ago, back before the government mini-budget rattled markets and helped trigger an intervention by the Bank of England, writes the Wall Street Journal.

A Turbulent Few Days for Sterling (Wall Street Journal)

Excerpt from the Wall Street Journal: The British government Friday unveiled the country’s biggest tax cuts since the early 1970s, a bold move aimed at kick-starting growth at a time of global economic turmoil but one which spooked investors and sparked the biggest one-day selloff of the pound since the pandemic roiled markets in March 2020. The package of tax cuts, paired with subsidies for households and businesses to cope with a surge in energy prices, was aimed at boosting the flagging U.K. economy amid stubbornly high global inflation and growing economic gloom in Europe. Instead, it may have only added to global worries by causing a market backlash. The Bank of England launched an emergency intervention to restore order in bond markets after a government tax-cut plan sent borrowing costs soaring and triggered a meltdown in complex financial instruments held by pension funds. The move aimed to stanch the damage from a furious selloff in U.K. government debt in recent days and stop the losses from running out of control, analysts said.
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