December 1, 2022

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The EU’s top official has pledged to conduct a ‘stress test’ of pipelines after the leaks

The EU's top official has pledged to conduct a 'stress test' of pipelines after the leaks

BRUSSELS – The head of the European Union’s executive arm pledged on Wednesday to carry out checks on key EU infrastructure, including energy, after suspected sabotage of natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said last week’s damage to Nord Stream pipelines running from Russia to Germany “showed how vulnerable our energy infrastructure is” and that a comprehensive plan was needed to ensure the integrity of key EU networks, including data .

“We need to stress our infrastructure,” von der Leyen told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. “We need to determine if we have weaknesses and where those weaknesses are.” It also said that satellite monitoring will be used to detect potential threats.

Amid Russia’s seven-month war against Ukraine and Western military support for the Ukrainian government, undersea explosions last week ruptured the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, which were built to carry gas from Russia to Germany.

Because member states are responsible for overseeing energy and other essential infrastructure within the European Union, von der Leyen said her push for safety would include national capitals.

“We will work with member states to ensure that effective stress tests are conducted in the energy sector,” she said. “This, then, should be followed by other high-risk sectors, such as digital infrastructure and offshore electricity.”

The Danish and Swedish governments said that Several hundred pounds of explosive It was used to destroy twin pipelines at two sites off Sweden and two off Denmark last week. The leaks resulted in large amounts of methane gas being released into the air.

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The bombings must be viewed in light of the deteriorating security situation in Europe. “We have every reason to believe that this is sabotage,” Swedish Foreign Minister Anne Linde said on Wednesday. “At this time, we cannot guarantee who is responsible.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West on Friday of attacking pipelines that… The United States and its allies vehemently denied.

The Danish authorities said that the leaks they were monitoring in international waters I stopped over the weekend. It also appears that one of the leaks off Sweden is over.

The Swedish Coast Guard said on Wednesday that the size of the remaining leak from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was “somewhat smaller” and “gives the impression of diminishing”.

Sweden deployed a vessel capable of advanced diving missions above the leak, although it was not clear when a diver or submarine would disembark for the inspection.

The Swedish Coast Guard has one of its ships on site around the clock to monitor maritime traffic in the area.

The Swedish Prosecutor’s Office and the Swedish security services are leading an investigation. The Copenhagen Police was responsible for an investigation in close cooperation with the Danish energy authorities, the National Police and the Danish Police Intelligence Service.

Also in Strasbourg, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell predicted on Wednesday that the 27 national governments would agree to impose new sanctions on Russia in response to its illegal annexation of four regions of Ukraine that make up about 15% of Ukraine’s territory.

The new sanctions planned include a cap on Russian oil prices, restrictions on EU exports of aircraft components to the country, and restrictions on imports of Russian steel. Diplomats from European Union member states were aiming to have the new package approved as soon as Wednesday in Brussels.

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The new sanctions build on the already unprecedented European sanctions against Russia as a result of its war against Ukraine since February.

The EU’s measures so far include restrictions on energy supplies from Russia, a ban on financial transactions with Russian entities including the central bank and an asset freeze against more than 1,000 people and more than 100 entities.

Follow the Associated Press’ coverage of the war in Ukraine on https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine