COPENHAGEN, DENMARK (AP) – Swedish officials do not yet know if an undersea power cable that runs between southern Sweden and Poland was damaged when the Nord Stream gas pipelines some 500 metres away ruptured from what Western and Russian officials both claimed was intentional tampering.
“Since the cable is not in service, it can’t be determined if the cable is damaged in some way,” Sweden’s public power transmission network operator Svenska kraftnat spokesman Per Kvarnefalk said onThursday. “We will therefore perform tests on the cable using special measurement equipment early next week with the aim to determine if the cable is fully functional.”
Svenska kraftnat partly owns the more than 250-kilometre-long high-voltage cable that transmits electricity through the Baltic Sea.
Following the suspected sabotage this week of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines that carry Russian natural gas to Europe, there were two leaks off Sweden, including a large one above North Stream 1, and a smaller one above North Stream 2, and two leaks off Denmark.
The North Stream 2 leak “has diminished, but is still on-going”, the Swedish coast guard said. However, navigational warnings for ships were slightly increased to seven nautical miles from five nautical miles from the incident areas, the coast guard said in a statement.
The Danish and Swedish governments have described the ruptures as the result of “deliberate actions”. Russia also has said the leaks resulted from deliberate acts, saying “it looks like a terror attack, probably conducted on a state level”.
Moscow requested an emergency meeting at the United Nations (UN) Security Council to discuss the pipelines and called for a thorough international probe to assess the damage to the pipelines. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said a study would only be possible once gas stops leaking from them.
Nordic seismologists recorded explosions preceding the leaks. A first explosion was recorded early Monday southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm. A second, stronger blast northeast of the island that night was equivalent to a magnitude-2.3 earthquake.
NATO warned on Thursday it would retaliate for any attacks on the critical infrastructure of its 30 member countries and joined other Western officials in citing sabotage as the likely cause of damage to the natural gas pipelines. Denmark is a NATO member and Sweden is in the process of joining the military alliance.
The first leaks in the pipelines that extend from Russia to Germany were reported on Tuesday, prompting energy companies and European governments to beef up security.
Energy infrastructure security has increased across the Nordic region.