Putin Says All Infrastructure at Risk After Nord Stream Hit

October 13, 2022

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said any energy infrastructure in the world is at risk after the explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines.

The attacks were an act of terror that set “the most dangerous precedent,” the Russian president told a Moscow energy forum on Wednesday. “It shows that any critically important object of transport, energy or utilities infrastructure is under threat” irrespective of where it is located or by whom it is managed, he said.

Putin blamed the sabotage on the US, Ukraine and Poland, calling them “beneficiaries” of the blasts that caused major gas leaks in the Baltic Sea. The US and its allies have rejected those allegations and suggest Russia may have been behind the underwater blasts.

The attacks on two strings of Nord Stream and one string of Nord Stream 2 at the end of September have raised concerns over the future of Europe’s gas supplies. Other critical infrastructure in the region has also suffered damage in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, an act of sabotage halted train services across northern Germany and the government has said it can’t rule out foreign involvement. A pipeline that carries Russian oil through Poland was found to be leaking on Tuesday. Investigations continue, and Poland’s top official in charge of strategic energy infrastructure said he assumed it was an accident.

Deliveries of Russian gas to Europe have slumped following a deterioration of relations between over the invasion of Ukraine. Some shipments to the bloc continue via pipelines through Ukraine and Turkey.

Russia is ready to supply gas to Europe via the second string of Nord Stream 2, Putin said. Any start of flows through the pipeline would require approval from the European Union and remains unlikely as tensions between the Kremlin and the West deepen.

Russia could also redirect the gas volumes previously shipped via the Nord Stream link toward the Black Sea, creating a major gas hub in Turkey, Putin said. This could be possible if Turkey approves the idea, he said.

At the same event in Moscow, the head of Gazprom PJSC warned that European households could still freeze during a severe cold snap this winter, despite the continent having almost filled its gas storage facilities.

“Winter can be relatively warm, but one week or even five days will be abnormally cold and it’s possible that whole towns and lands, god forbid, will freeze,” said Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller.

About the photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Rafael Grossi, director of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in Saint Petersburg on October 11, 2022. Photographer: Pavel Bednyakov/AFP/Getty Images

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