The incidents overshadowed the inauguration of a long-awaited pipeline that will carry Norwegian gas to Poland in efforts to bolster Europe’s energy independence from Moscow.
Two unusual explosions were detected close to the Russian natural gas pipelines running under the Baltic Sea to to Germany – with many world leaders suspecting sabotage.
Here’s what you need to know.
Powerful explosions caused leaks in Nord Stream 1 and 2
Powerful explosions were the cause of “extensive damage” to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, Danish police have said.
A spokesman for Copenhagen Police said officers have carried out preliminary investigations of “the crime scenes” with assistance from Denmark’s armed forces and in collaboration with the Danish security and intelligence agency.
“It is very serious, and this is by no means a coincidence. It doesn’t just seem planned, but very well planned,” Danish defence minister Morten Bodskov told broadcaster TV2.
The agency and the police have decided to set up a joint investigation group which will handle further investigation of the incidents.
Do the Nord Stream pipelines leak?
Such pipelines are designed not to leak, however the Nord Stream pipelines have been at the centre of an energy clash between Europe and Russia since the invasion of Ukraine in late February.
Four leaks has resulted in many suspecting foul play with a fourth leak on the Nord Stream pipelines being reported off southern Sweden, the country’s news agency said.
The steel pipe itself has a wall of 4.1 cm (1.6 inches) and is coated with steel-reinforced concrete up to 11cm thick. Each section of the pipe weighs 11 tonnes, which goes to 24-25 tonnes after the concrete is applied – but gas was seen bubbling from the pipe in the Baltic Sea.
Many have speculated that the leak which is not common, is a result of Russian sabotage.
What has been said about the Nord Stream 1 and 2 leak?
Denmark established a prohibited area to ensure ships do not go near the leaks. Ships may lose buoyancy, and there may also be a risk of ignition above the water and in the air, authorities said.
In a statement on behalf of all 27 member states, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “All available information indicates those leaks are the result of a deliberate act.
“Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response.”
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said that “it is the authorities’ clear assessment that these are deliberate actions – not accidents”.
But she said “there is no information indicating who could be behind it”.
Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, called the news “very concerning” and said that “no option can be ruled out right now”, including sabotage.
He said: “This is a very concerning news.
Was the Nord Stream pipeline leak sabotage?
The Danish and Swedish governments believe the leaks off their countries are the result of “deliberate actions”.
A first blast was recorded by seismologists early on Monday south east of the Danish island of Bornholm.
A second, stronger blast north east of the island that night was equivalent to a magnitude 2.3 earthquake.
Some European officials and energy experts said Russia is likely to blame for any sabotage – it directly benefits from higher energy prices and economic anxiety across Europe — although others cautioned against pointing fingers until investigators are able to determine what happened.
Will the Nord Stream pipelines be operation soon?
The extent of the damage means the Nord Stream pipeline is unlikely to carry any gas to Europe this winter even if there was political will to bring them online, analysts at the Eurasia Group said.
Undersea pipelines are designed so they can not be damaged accidentally and leaks are rare.
Is Nord Stream 2 operational?
Nord Stream 2 has never been operational, Nord Stream 1 had delivered gas to Germany until earlier this month, when Russian energy giant Gazprom turned off the supply, alleging that urgent maintenance work was required to replace vital components.
At the time of the leaks neither pipeline was operating but both were filled with gas
Gazprom started cutting supplies through Nord Stream 1 in mid-June, blaming delays to the delivery of a turbine that had been sent to Canada for repair.
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was already complete when German Chancellor Olaf Scholz suspended its certification on the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Who is reliant on Russian gas?
A number of countries are reliant on a supply of Russian gas, such as Slovakia.
European countries have struggled to find other supplies of gas, which heats homes, generates electricity and runs factories
Some are on track to be removed from the supply however, Poland, for example, was on track to free itself of Russian gas after working for years to secure other sources, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US and Middle East. Germany, in contrast, is only now racing to build LNG terminals.