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Russia Says Nord Stream Pipeline Leaks Were in US Zone

Moscow’s claims come as Sweden reports a fourth leak.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the Nord Stream pipeline leaks were in an area controlled by US intelligence services, the RIA Novosti news agency reported on Thursday, when a fourth leak was reported.

In recent days, member states of the European Union have been investigating sudden and unexplained leaks in gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea.

The pipelines connect Russia with Germany and have been at the center of geopolitical tensions when Moscow cut gas supplies to Europe in alleged retaliation against Western sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine.

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Washington has rejected previous suggestions by Moscow that it was behind the leaks, calling them “ridiculous.”

Russia has said suggestions by European officials that Moscow sabotaged the pipelines were predictably “stupid.”

Of a fourth leak detected, the Swedish Coast Guard said on Thursday after three leaks were confirmed earlier this week: “There are two leaks on the Swedish side and two leaks on the Danish side.”

Gas bubbles from the leaking Nord Stream 2 reaching the surface of the Baltic Sea in the area show a disturbance of more than a kilometer in diameter near Bornholm, Denmark, on September 27, 2022. Danish Defense Command/Handout a via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Gas bubbles from the outflow of Nord Stream 2 reach the surface of the Baltic Sea in an area showing a disturbance of more than a kilometer in diameter near Bornholm, Denmark, on September 27, 2022. [Danish Defence Command/Handout via Reuters]

The official added that the two leaks from the Swedish side are “close to each other.”

The Swedish Coast Guard did not say why the latest leak appeared days after the initial breaches.

The media reported that the latest leak was detected in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but the coast guard did not confirm this.

Sweden had previously reported a leak in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline northeast of Bornholm, while Denmark confirmed a leak in Nord Stream 2 to the southeast of the island and another to the northeast over Nord Stream 1.

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Large leaks cause significant bubbling on the sea surface several hundred meters wide, making it impossible to inspect structures immediately.

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While the pipelines, operated by a consortium majority owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom, are not currently operational, both still contain gas.

Russia’s FSB security service is investigating the damage to the pipelines as “international terrorism,” the Interfax news agency quoted the prosecutor general’s office as saying.

Speaking on Wednesday, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said a large explosive device would have been needed to cause the damage.

The United Nations Security Council will meet on Friday to discuss the incident.

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