Oslo says the damage to the Nord Stream infrastructure looks “deliberate”
The military has been deployed to protect Norwegian energy facilities in the wake of the suspected sabotage attack on Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 undersea gas pipelines, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere has said.
“Military forces will be more present and visible near our oil and gas installations,” Stoere told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.
“The information we have received today further strengthens assumptions that the damage [to the pipelines] is a deliberate act. It has created a very serious situation.”
The prime minister added that “it is crucial that Europe and NATO stand together” on the matter.
Tone Vangen, the senior emergency official in the country’s police, confirmed that security, as well as the monitoring of threats, has been boosted at oil and gas facilities.
The two Nord Stream pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, lost pressure on Monday, after which numerous leaks were detected. Swedish authorities recorded what they said were two explosions in the areas of gas leaks.
Sweden, Denmark and the EU all said that the disaster was an act of sabotage. The Kremlin, meanwhile, said the disruption of gas deliveries is a big problem for Moscow and argued any allegations that it was behind the damage were “absurd.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday suggested it could have been a “terrorist attack” and was unlikely to have been possible “without the involvement of some state power.”
Russian pipeline operator Gazprom said this month that Nord Stream 1 will remain shut down indefinitely due to maintenance, citing problems with the return of repaired equipment because of Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its military offensive in Ukraine.
The Nord Stream 2 was never fully operational because Germany halted certification in February, due to the Ukraine conflict.