Nord Stream pipeline leaks caused by 'powerful explosions,' Danish police say

President Joe Biden called the damage a deliberate act of sabotage.

October 18, 2022, 2:11 PM

A preliminary investigation of damages to the two Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Danish part of the Baltic Sea shows that the leaks were caused by "powerful explosions," Copenhagen police said Tuesday.

Swedish and Danish authorities are investigating four holes in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, which link Russia and Germany through the Baltic Sea. The investigations confirmed there is extensive damage to the pipelines, according to police.

A painting showing the Nord Stream pipelines is displayed on a container near the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline in Lubmin, Germany, July 20, 2022.
Markus Schreiber/AP, FILE

Copenhagen police have set up a joint investigation group handling the investigation of the incidents which includes the Norwegian Police Intelligence Service and the Norwegian Armed Forces.

Danish officials said it is not possible to determine when the investigation can be expected to be completed, declining to reveal any other information from the investigation into the gas leaks.

Last week, Germany announced it has also opened an investigation into the damage to the pipelines.

An underwater video released by Reuters is said to show part of the 50-meter 'missing' section of Nord Stream pipeline, Oct. 17, 2022.
Blueye via Reuters

Last month, President Joe Biden called the damage to the pipelines a "deliberate act of sabotage," vowing to work with allies to get to the bottom of what exactly happened.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of sabotaging the Russian-built pipelines, a charge vehemently denied by the United States and its allies.

The dispatchers of the Nord Stream 1 control center registered a pressure drop on both strings of the gas pipeline on Sept. 26. Pressure in both pipelines was stabilized on Oct. 3, according to the company that operates the pipelines.

The damaged pipelines led to huge methane leaks, but Danish officials said the pipelines stopped leaking on Oct. 1.

Gas leak at Nord Stream 2 as seen from the Danish F-16 interceptor on Bornholm, Denmark, Sept. 27, 2022.
Ritzau Scanpix/via Reuters, FILE

Last week, Putin said Russia is ready to resume supplying gas to Germany through Nord Stream 2, but Berlin rejected the offer. Berlin claimed Russia halted supplies through Nord Stream 1 as a political gambit and questioned why supplies through Nord Stream 2 would be any more reliable, according to Reuters.

According to Swedish newspaper Expressen, at least 50 meters, or 160 feet, of the pipeline appears to be missing after the explosion.

NATO has doubled its presence in the Baltic and North Seas to over 30 ships supported by aircraft and undersea activities, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said last week.

"We will further increase protection of critical infrastructure in light of the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines," he said.