German officials reportedly believe the crucial Nord Stream natural-gas pipelines connecting Russia to Europe were sabotaged near a Danish island

Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline
Pressure in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines dropped sharply on Monday.Sean Gallup/Getty Images
  • German officials reportedly believe the Nord Stream Russia-Europe natural-gas pipelines were sabotaged.

  • The operator of the pipelines said Tuesday they'd suffered "unprecedented" damage in a single day.

  • It's not yet known who, or what, might have caused the damage.

German officials reportedly believe the crucial Nord Stream natural-gas pipelines connecting Russia to Europe have been sabotaged.

Der Tagesspiegel, a newspaper in Germany, where the pipelines land from Russia, reported a government source as saying: "We can't imagine a scenario that isn't a targeted attack. Everything speaks against a coincidence."

The Danish Navy has sent an Absalon-class frigate to site of the leaks for monitoring purposes and to warn ships to stay away, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation reported. A no-fly zone is in operation over the affected area, a German government official told Insider.

The Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipeline systems are the largest for transporting natural-gas from Russia to Europe. Each system consists of two pipelines.

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, the newer Nord Stream 2 system, which at the time was filled with natural-gas but wasn't operational, was suspended. And as the war has dragged on, Russia has gradually crimped supply through Nord Stream 1, which was fully-operational before the invasion.

The Danish Energy Agency said Monday it had discovered a leak in the Nord Stream 2 system near Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic Sea. The Swedish Maritime Authority said leaks had been detected in both Nord Steam 1 and Nord Stream 2 near Bornholm.

On Tuesday, Nord Stream AG, the operator of the pipelines, said: "The destruction that happened within one day at three lines of the Nord Stream pipeline system is unprecedented."

Jakob Hanke Vela, a Germany-based reporter for Politico, tweeted: "Accident highly unlikely, officials in Berlin believe both pipelines have been attacked."

Die Welt, another German publication, reported that the timing of the damage suggested sabotage, and was unlikely to be an accident.

Later Tuesday, Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen said the situation was "extraordinary" and it was "difficult to imagine" the damage was accidental.

Also later Tuesday, the Kremlin said it couldn't rule out sabotage, per Reuters.

A spokesperson for Germany's economy ministry told Insider it "doesn't participate in speculation." Germany's energy regulator, the Federal Network Agency, said in an email it was in the process of clarifying the situation.

"It seems extremely improbable that the leaks on two different pipelines happen at the same time," Mate usz Kubiak, energy analyst at the Warsaw-based Esper is consultancy, told Politico. "Therefore I think we should assume that it was intentional to create these leaks." Kubiak added that he didn't think it made sense for Ukraine or the West to sabotage the pipelines, per Politico.

Klaus Müller, president of Germany's Federal Network Agency, wrote in a Twitter post Monday the situation was "tense" but Germany and the European Union were no longer dependent on Nord Stream 1.

Since Russia halted gas supplies to Europe in early September, no gas has flowed through Nord Stream 1, the Federal Network Agency said. It added that storage levels in Germany were rising and were around 91% at the time of writing.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Read the original article on Business Insider