Warning of Its Planet-Warming Impact, Senior Economic, Social Affairs Official Urges Global Action to Address Nord Stream Pipelines’ Leaks, in Security Council Briefing
United States, Russian Federation Delegates Trade Barbs, Deny Responsibility, as Council Members Call for Investigation of Incident
The international community must take steps to address the consequences of the recent leaks in the Nord Stream pipelines, while its causes are being investigated, Navid Hanif, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, told the Security Council today, in a meeting requested by the Russian Federation to discuss the incidents.
Noting that the leaks led to the release of an unknown quantity of methane, Mr. Hanif pointed out that the gas has more than 80 times the planet-warming potency of carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame and underscored the need to accelerate the transition to a clean and resilient energy system.
Sergey Kupriyanov, Spokesperson for Gazprom, also addressing the Council, called the leaks “absolutely unprecedented”, and stated that existing data pointed to physical damage to the pipeline as the cause of the incidents. Noting that the pipelines have been designed to deliver 110 billion cubic metres of gas per year, representing a quarter of Europe’s gas consumption in the European Union, he said steps are being taken to make the system operational once more, as they had resulted in Europe’s being “indefinitely deprived of a key route for the delivery of a crucial energy resource”.
His remarks were followed by those of Marc-Antoine Eyl-Mazzega, Director of the Center for Energy and Climate, French Institute on Foreign Relations, who noted that the explosions, which did not proceed from an accident, represented yet another episode in the long-lasting geopolitical confrontation between the United States and the Russian Federation on one hand, and between the latter and Europe on the other hand, where energy and pipeline infrastructure has been weaponized. The massive methane leak in the aftermath of the incident is dangerous, he said, voicing regret that the Russian Federation has not signed on to the Global Methane Pledge. Further, the targeting of energy infrastructure by sophisticated sabotage “should be a concern for Europe and the rest of the world”, he said.
In the ensuing discussion, many Council members expressed concern about the impacts of the leaks on the environment and on energy markets, with some pointing out that such disruptions would have a disproportionate impact on developing countries. Several members called for the incidents to be investigated while avoiding an escalation in already fraught geopolitical tensions. Meanwhile, the representatives of the Russian Federation and the United States exchanged barbs, with the former implying the involvement of the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the leaks, while the latter denied his country’s involvement in the incidents, despite the former’s “inflammatory rhetoric” and its use of the Council as a platform to spread disinformation.
The representative of the Russian Federation said his country had initiated a criminal proceeding under the act of international terrorism following the sabotage of the three Nord Stream pipelines, asserting that the complexity and scale of such acts were beyond the power of ordinary terrorists, and had to have been caused by State- or State-controlled actors. Recalling that United States President Joseph R. Biden had said that, if the Russian Federation were to invade, there would no longer be a Nord Stream 2, he asked the United States representative if he could confirm that his country was not involved in the sabotage of Nord Stream pipelines. Pointing out that the damage to the pipelines would leave Europe dependent on a more expensive, unreliable supplier — the United States — he said that country’s liquified gas suppliers should now be celebrating the rupture of the European Union’s energy independence. In a second intervention, he went on to state that it made no sense for his country to destroy a project it had so heavily invested in.
For his part, the representative of the United States expressed support for ongoing European investigative efforts into the leaks, stating that “the search for the truth cannot be rushed”. He then observed that the Russian Federation’s delegation “had a bad day”, as they had to watch that “strangely odd, fascist, Nuremberg-style rally-combined-with-a-Las-Vegas-1970s-show that happened in Moscow this morning to celebrate the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory”, followed by the Council’s sending a message about that annexation in the afternoon, adding that none of it justified the Russian Federation’s repeated presentation of disinformation and conspiracy theories in the Council. Taking the floor a second time, following the second intervention of his Russian Federation counterpart, he underscored his previous assertion, supported by an observation made by one of the briefers, that Europe’s energy situation is affected more by the Russian Federation’s unreliability as an energy supplier than anything to do with the United States.
The representative of China, pointing out that the leakage is still going on, characterized the incident as a “great calamity” that China “does not wish to see”. He called for an impartial investigation of the incident, which seemed to have resulted from sabotage, thereby constituting an attack on transnational civilian facilities and submarine pipelines in violation of international law.
Meanwhile, the representative of France, Council President for September, speaking in his national capacity, expressed solidarity with Denmark and Sweden following the unprecedented events that impact them from a security and environmental standpoint, and emphasized that the available information indicated that the leaks were the consequence of a deliberate act of sabotage, with two seismic events recorded before the leaks occurred: measurements indicated explosions equivalent to 500 kilogrammes of trinitrotoluene. Expressing support for investigations to be carried out by countries concerned, he went on to denounce the hostile attack on Europe’s energy infrastructure.
Also speaking were representatives of Norway, Mexico, Ireland, Gabon, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Albania, Kenya, India, Brazil and Ghana.
The meeting began at 4:11 p.m. and ended at 5:26 p.m.
NAVID HANIF, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, briefing the Council on the recent leaks in the Nord Stream pipelines, said that all the information he is presenting today is from publicly available sources. The United Nations is not able to verify or confirm any reported details relating to these incidents, he noted, but reported that, over the course of 26 to 29 September, four leaks were detected in the Nord Stream submarine pipelines in the Baltic Sea. The first was reported on Nord Stream 1 on the morning of 26 September when seismologists detected a spike in activity. The second and third were reported on Nord Stream 1 that evening, and the fourth, on Nord Stream 2, on the morning of 29 September. He pointed out that neither pipeline was in operation, as supplies in Nord Stream 1 were halted in September and Nord Stream 2 never came into operation. However, both contained natural gas, and were reported to have held several hundreds of millions of cubic metres of natural gas at the time of the incidents. He went on to say that site inspections have yet to be done, and therefore, the details of exactly what happened remain unknown.
He stressed, however, that, while the causes of the incidents are being investigated, the international community must address the consequences of these leaks. Damage to the pipelines raises concerns regarding uncertainty in global energy markets, and could exacerbate high price volatility in those markets in Europe and around the world. He also expressed concern over the potential environmental impact of the leaks, which discharged hundreds of millions of cubic metres of gas into the atmosphere. Pointing out that methane has more than 80 times the planet-warming potency of carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame, he said that it is unknown how much methane was released. Regardless, these incidents highlight the vulnerability of critical energy infrastructure, along with the importance of accelerating the transition to a clean, resilient and sustainable energy system while ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable energy. He added that any attack on critical civilian infrastructure is unacceptable, urging that these incidents not be allowed to further increase tensions or deepen divisions in an already-tense regional context.
SERGEY KUPRIYANOV, Spokesperson for Gazprom, recalled the events occurring on 26 September, when, within a single day, three lines of the Nord Stream gas pipeline system broke in the Baltic Sea. Noting that they are offshore gas pipelines with a length of about 1,200 kilometres each, he stated that they were created for reliable, direct supplies of Russian gas to Europe, with a design capacity constituting a total of 110 billion cubic metres of gas per year, representing a quarter of gas consumption in the European Union. “This is energy for 52 million European households,” he stated, pointing out that half a trillion cubic metres of Russian gas have been supplied to European consumers via the Nord Stream gas pipeline since 2011.
The data regarding the pressure drops in sections of the pipeline, as well as leaks in sites in its German and Denmark sections, make it possible to say that they were caused by physical damage to the pipeline, which are modern, high-tech and have experienced many years of safe operation, he went on. Gazprom is now searching for possible solutions to make the system operational once again, he said, adding that that, overall, a situation where three leaks in three pipelines in one day is “absolutely unprecedented”, leading to Europe being “indefinitely deprived of a key route for the delivery of a crucial energy resource”. The Russian Federation and Gazprom have expended a huge amount of funds and efforts to ensure the safe delivery of Russian gas to European consumers. The pipelines remain currently ruptured.
MARC-ANTOINE EYL-MAZZEGA, Director of the Center for Energy and Climate, French Institute on Foreign Relations, concurred with Mr. Kurpiyanov’s assessment, noting that the Nord Stream 1 and 2 corridors were designed with state-of-the-art technology with a view to reducing the risk of any damage from, among others, storms, Second World War non-exploded bombs or sinking ships. “These are great pipelines, so to my best knowledge, an accident can be ruled out,” he said. Providing context to the events, he said the explosions are another episode in the long-lasting geopolitical confrontation between the United States and the Russian Federation on one hand, and between the latter and Europe on the other hand, where energy and pipeline infrastructure has taken centre stage and has been weaponized. He noted that, in June 2021, Gazprom unusually started to reduce gas exports to European markets, while respecting contractual obligations. This pushed gas prices up and led to a slow increase in imports of liquefied natural gas to compensate. By the fall of 2021, the opening of the pipeline was pending completion of the certification procedure to ensure it complied with European Union law.
The Russian Federation’s aggression in Ukraine in February aggravated gas supply tensions, he said, adding that, at end of February, Germany stopped the certification procedure for Nord Stream 2 indefinitely. In the following months, using various pretexts and reasons, Gazprom started to progressively cut off most of its customers, but this time in key disregard of long-term contracts, he said. This summer, Gazprom further reduced export volumes to Nord Stream, blaming Western sanctions on equipment. This extraordinary pipeline infrastructure had been shut down for many days and weeks, he pointed out. Europe and many countries around the world have been severely impacted by Gazprom’s market behavior. In Europe, soaring prices are posing burdens on consumers’ utilities and public finances, while Gazprom has made huge profits. In the rest of the world, many large importers are deprived of access to energy because they cannot afford to pay.
Many countries and companies have turned to dirty fuel, such as heavy oil or coal, causing large and lasting environmental damage, he said. Just before pipeline explosions, Gazprom contractual relations, in an unprecedented move, put most of its European customers in “full tatters” and flows to the pipelines had been stopped for several weeks already. Against that backdrop the relevance and value of the Nord Stream corridors to the Russian Federation has declined. “Financially, this huge investment is de facto a sunk cost investment.” Gazprom had stopped transporting gas for Nord Stream. It is a widely shared view among experts that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would probably never have been put into operation following the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine. The European Union has been working in the past months to phase out Russian gas as soon as possible. In turn, the Russian Federation has pledged to rapidly pilot its gas infrastructure to Asia, particularly China and India.
Turning to the current situation, he underscored the danger posed by the massive methane leak, voicing regret that the Russian Federation has not signed on to the Global Methane Pledge. Satellite pictures of the Russian Federation suggest that Gazprom has been ramping up gas‑line operations in the past months. Highlighting that the explosions set an extraordinary precedent where energy infrastructure is targeted by sabotage of a sophisticated nature, he stressed: “This should be a concern for Europe and the rest of the world because anything happening in Europe has global implications.”
DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) said that his country’s Prosecutor General’s Office had already begun a criminal proceeding under the act of international terrorism, relating to the sabotage of three of the Nord Stream offshore pipelines. Highlighting several facts relating to the investigation, he said weeks before the special military operations, the United States President said that, if the Russian Federation were to invade, there would no longer be a Nord Stream 2. Large-scale North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Baltic operations exercises occurred in the Baltic Sea in June, where three months later the Nord Stream incidents took place. One of NATO’s main tasks was testing unmanned underwater vehicles and that open data showed United States’ helicopter flight paths coincided with gas pipelines. He concluded that the United States was not hiding its presence in the area on purpose. He also cited former Polish Defence and Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski’s tweet of the leak site, in which he thanked the United States for this sabotage. Moreover, Mr. Sikorski’s wife is well-connected in Washington, D.C. Almost at the same time as the sabotage, the Baltic gas pipeline was opened. Lastly, he cited NATO’s statement on the sabotage warning about strikes against its infrastructure, adding that it was “as though NATO is afraid that someone will retaliate for something”.
The destruction of Nord Stream was hardly beneficial for European States that would become dependent on a more expensive, unreliable supplier — the United States, he said. He pointed to the economic consequences and environmental damage, as well as the impact on the European Commission Nord Stream, a common interest project that had helped the continent move away from dependence on the monopoly — or “theft” — of the Kyiv Government and pursue energy security amid increasing demand. European and United States sanctions have disrupted the gas supply and negatively impacted European industries’ profitability and competitiveness, leading to energy poverty in both developed and developing countries. In that regard, the Russian Federation continues to offer long-term contracts to avoid an energy collapse, he said, and emphasized that it makes no sense for his country to destroy a project it so heavily invested in — if one judges it with common sense and not with “morbid fantasies” that the Russian Federation would do anything to intimidate Europe.
Highlighting that United States’ liquified gas suppliers should now be celebrating now that the last thread ensuring the European Union’s energy independence has been ruptured, he noted that these developments are benefiting the United States and that European residents are left to face their problems alone. In that vein, he asked the United States representative directly if he could confirm that her country was not involved in the sabotage of Nord Stream pipelines. While stressing that the Council is not a judicial body and that answers and preparators will not be found today, he advocated for comprehensive investigations and said that he looked forward to hearing Western States’ statements, urging them to this time refrain from Russophobic verbal gymnastics.
The sabotage’s complexity and scale are beyond the power of ordinary terrorists, he said. Rather it was a deliberate sabotage against a crucial elements of the Russian Federation’s energy infrastructure that must have been conducted by State or State-controlled actors. To that end, he pledged his determination in identifying those involved, adding that they do not have a neutral status to the armed conflict. While highlighting the importance of having Russian and German experts conduct the international investigation to ensure objectivity, he said that, if involvement of States in the terrorist attacks was confirmed, this would mean a deliberate escalation of the conflict. Those who committed the acts are leading the international community to a dangerous brink, he concluded.
MONA JUUL (Norway), expressing concern over the damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in international waters within the economic zones of Sweden and Denmark, stressed that this has created a serious situation in terms of climate and environmental consequences, as well as risks to shipping. Stating that all currently available information indicates that the damage is the result of deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage, she emphasized that “we need to get to the bottom of what has happened and why, even if it may take some time”. In this regard she expressed support for the investigations launched by Danish and Swedish authorities aimed at getting full clarity. Underscoring that this incident occurred against a backdrop of war and energy crisis in Europe and beyond, she indicated that those responsible “clearly wanted to create fear and insecurity on the European continent”. As a major supplier of gas, she added, her country is aware of the special responsibilities it bears to safeguard security on the Norwegian continental shelf.
JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMÍREZ (Mexico), in expressing concern over the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines’ leaks, regretted their impact on the environment, international navigation and global energy markets already affected by the war in Ukraine. In light of current and available information, he noted that it seemed unlikely to have been an accident and called for a rigorous and impartial investigation to determine the circumstances which led to the damaging of civilian infrastructure and identify those responsible. This incident should compel the Council to rethink and refocus on finding a solution through dialogue and diplomacy before the conflict continues to escalate further, he added.
MARTIN GALLAGHER (Ireland) expressed deep concern over the sudden and extensive gas leaks detected in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines earlier this week. The immediate priority must be to ensure maritime safety and avert the risk of a climate and ecological disaster given the potential for a massive and highly damaging emission event. All the analysis to date indicates that the leaks are the result of deliberate acts of sabotage, with at least two detonations underwater, damaging the pipelines and causing major leaks of natural gas into the Baltic Sea. He noted the magnitude of the explosions was measured at 2.3 and 2.1 on the Richter scale, corresponding to an explosive load in the region of several hundred kilogrammes. The irresponsibility of such acts cannot be overstated and must deeply concern all States. That such acts might occur now, amid a global energy crisis and with winter fast approaching, makes it all the more appalling. He stressed that Sweden, Denmark and Germany will have Ireland’s full support in managing the consequences of this indefensible act — also strongly supporting the ongoing investigations in the most affected Member States to determine the full facts behind the leaks. “Let me be clear: any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is utterly unacceptable,” he stressed, and Ireland, along with European Union partners, will ensure that it is met with a robust and united response.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) said the information presented on significant leaks is cause for great concern over the possibility of a disaster. The scale of the risk and the economic and environmental impacts require an analysis of the level of the threat and effort to avert the consequences of methane escaping into the atmosphere. He expressed hope that measures taken were precautionary and will take into account energy security and the need to supply it at the beginning of winter, voicing hope that the situation will not lead to further hostilities between the warring parties. Recalling that his delegation opposes the war, and that there are strict rules protecting civilians and infrastructure, he reiterated the call for an immediate cessation of hostilities between the warring parties. He called for urgent action to repair the damage and an independent investigation to shed light and establish those responsible.
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) described Moscow’s request for this meeting as “a cynical attempt to distract from [President Vladimir V.] Putin’s illegal annexation of the Ukrainian territory”. Voicing deep concern over the damage to the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea, he noted that these leaks are not only causing risks to shipping, but also substantial environmental damage in the Baltic Sea as they are releasing enormous amounts of methane into the atmosphere. All currently available information indicates that this is the result of sabotage, he asserted, expressing support for the investigations by the authorities of Denmark, Sweden and Germany, and calling for the establishment of clear international norms that such reckless and intentional damage to civilian infrastructure is unacceptable. Reiterating the commitment NATO allies to prepare for, deter and defend against any hybrid tactics by State and non-State actors — including coercive approaches to energy — he underscored that any deliberate attack against allies’ critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response.
RICHARD M. MILLS, JR. (United States), expressing concern over the apparent sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, underscored that deliberate damage of critical infrastructure cannot be tolerated. He supported European investigative efforts currently under way and emphasized that “the search for the truth cannot be rushed”. He then observed that the Russian Federation’s delegation “had a bad day”, as they had to watch that “strangely odd, fascist, Nuremberg-style rally‑combined-with-a-Las‑Vegas-1970s-show that happened in Moscow this morning to celebrate the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory”. They then witnessed the Council sending a message about that annexation in the afternoon, but none of this justifies their repeated presentations of conspiracy theories and mass disinformation in the Council.
Noting that the Russian Federation continues to use inflammatory rhetoric to accuse the United States of being involved in sabotage, he underscored that the United States denies any involvement in these incidents and rejects any assertions to the contrary. As it has been clear, for years, that the Russian Federation is not a reliable energy supplier, the United States has been working with its European partners and allies to increase energy resilience and provide alternative energy supplies. Urging that the sabotage of critical infrastructure should concern all, he recounted numerous instances of Russian attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure and stressed that the Russian Federation must not be allowed to continue to use the Council as a platform to spread disinformation. Recalling that delegation’s earlier statements that the Russian Federation had no intention of invading Ukraine, he said that the United States will not be distracted from seeking justice and accountability.
ZHANG JUN (China), noting that the physical disruption of the Nord Stream pipeline — Europe’s main energy transportation artery which provides vital gas supplies to 23 European countries — a result of the leaks, has exacerbated the region’s energy supply shortage. He noted that consumers around the world, particularly in dependent countries, are likely to suffer from the resulting volatility on the energy markets and the soaring energy prices. Acknowledging that the leakage is still going on, he spotlighted that an impact of this incident on shipping routes and the ecological environment of the surrounding waters, is playing out at the time when Europe and the world are facing intractable challenges. He then affirmed that it is a “great calamity” that China “does not wish to see”. He noted that some of the information indicates that the leaks “this time” have very likely resulted from sabotage. If so, this would constitute an attack on the transnational civilian facilities and submarine pipelines in violation of international law. He also noted that all stakeholders agree that objective, impartial and professional investigation into the leaks is essential. “The leaks this time highlight the vulnerability of transnational infrastructure,” he added, underscoring his country’s readiness to work with all parties to maintain security of cross-border infrastructure.
LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) expressed deep concern over the severe damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, noting that, while the exact cause remains unknown, the damage appears to have resulted from a deliberate act of sabotage. She called for potential missteps and further escalation to be avoided, at a time of global turmoil, and for the facts to be established through a transparent and comprehensive investigation. She went on to call for the prevention of further volatility and strain in the energy markets, which will place increasing strain on communities around the world, particularly in developing countries. Further, the incident has resulted in a grave environmental disaster with long-term repercussions to the Baltic Sea region and the world, she said, adding that, while the cost is being assessed, it is likely to be one of the worst greenhouse‑gas leaks ever experienced. Efforts must be made to establish the facts and make sure no further incidents take place.
ALBANA DAUTLLARI (Albania), noting reports that the leaks are the result of a deliberate act of sabotage, stressed that such acts are unacceptable and seriously threaten international security. She voiced support for the investigations under way to find the origin of the damage and the possible perpetrators. Her country shares the international community’s commitment to deter and defend against the misuse of energy by State and non-State actors. Any deliberate act against critical infrastructure should be met with a united response, she added. While the Russian Federation’s military aggression continues in Ukraine, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage on critical energy infrastructure may be seen as acts of intimidation of directly affected countries, the Baltic region and the European Union. Stressing that nuclear energy is being used as a weapon for geopolitical gain, she called on the international community to join efforts in promoting energy security and to prevent further threats and actions against that.
JAYNE TOROITICH (Kenya) underscored that Europe and the world cannot afford any escalation or spread of the war in Ukraine as many countries that were already struggling to build back after the COVID-19 pandemic are bearing the brunt of the impact of this war, including a surge in food, energy and farm in-put prices. To this end, she called for an immediate cessation of hostilities to allow space for diplomacy in the search for a political solution that is aligned with the Charter of the United Nations and that safeguards Ukraine’s territorial integrity while being sensitive to the security concerns of all parties.
RAVINDRA RAGUTTAHALLI (India), noting that he is closely following developments concerning the evolving situation, urged relevant sides to exercise restraint and not engage in any activity which may disrupt peace and stability. Any targeting of civilian infrastructure and facilities must be avoided, he stressed. The present incidents have the potential to impact stability in Europe and beyond, apart from negatively affecting the environment. Pointing out that the global South has been disproportionally impacted by the war in Ukraine and its consequences, including those relating to food, fuel and energy, he emphasized that this incident has the potential to further exacerbate the situation if left unchecked. In this regard, he expressed support for an independent and objective investigation. He reiterated the need for an immediate cessation of all hostilities and a return to dialogue and diplomacy.
JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil) noted this week’s incident is a cause for concern for all in light of its potential to further disrupt Europe’s energy security, with rippling effects on the world economy. “We must also be vigilant to the significant environmental impact such a disaster can pose to local maritime life and the amount of greenhouse gases leaked, which threatens our global effort against climate change,” he said. Encouraging the sharing of additional information to Council members on the status of the Nord Stream pipeline on a regular basis, he noted the statements by representatives of the Russian Federation, the European Union and NATO on the episode. It is understandable, given the current challenges in the international system, that there is an impulse to accept hasty explanations about the causes of the leak, based on the motivations attributed to other actors. However, he stressed that an investigation into the events should precede any conclusions. It is in the interest of all to clarify the incident and seek a prompt solution to avoid worsening the energy crisis in Europe. He encouraged those involved to cooperate in the investigation efforts and to work together to ensure that necessary repairs take place as soon as possible.
CAROLYN ABENA ANIMA OPPONG-NTIRI (Ghana), expressing concern over the damage caused to the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines, which resulted in the leakage of methane gas in the area, noted that the leakage has necessitated the demarcation of a “no sail” zone and caused disruptions to maritime straits that traverse the affected area. Also showing concern over the immediate and potential long-term damage to the marine environment and climate, she underscored that urgent and independent investigations are necessary to determine the circumstances leading to the leakage and to guide appropriate remedial action, including ensuring accountability for any persons or State found to have been complicit. The safety and security of the European energy infrastructure, she added, requires the concerted efforts of all Member States and the wider international community to prevent foreseeable interruptions in services critical to the survival of the people who rely on them. Recalling Council resolution 2341 (2017) encouraging cooperation to ensure the safety and protection of critical infrastructure, she called on all stakeholders to work closely to resolve any issues affecting the security of the Nord Stream gas pipelines and other such infrastructure. She also urged restraint by all parties concerned and cautioned against unilateral actions.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France), Council President for September, speaking in his national capacity, voiced concern about the two underwater explosions that hit the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines on 27 September and resulted in four methane leaks off the Danish island of Bornholm — which are unprecedented events. He expressed full solidarity with Denmark and Sweden, which are directly affected by their security and environmental consequences — a very serious situation. All available information indicates that the leaks were the result of a deliberate act of sabotage, he stressed, with two seismic events recorded before the leaks occurred: measurements indicated explosions equivalent to 500 kilogrammes of trinitrotoluene. “So, this not a coincidence,” he stressed. “These events are human in source.” He denounced the irresponsible act, which endangers maritime navigation and the environment. The coercive use of energy is unacceptable, and he called for light to be shed on the source of the explosions and support investigations that will be carried out by the countries concerned. Any deliberate attempt to attack critical infrastructure is intolerable and must be considered a hostile act. The European Union will respond firmly to this attack on its energy infrastructure, as it would towards any attempt to attack the safety of its supply.
Mr. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), taking the floor a second time, acknowledged the United States’ direct response denying any involvement in the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines and asked the United States to clarify what he and the representative from the United Kingdom meant by “Russian disinformation and conspiracy theories” when the Russian Federation has only cited facts. He then referred to the words of the United States’ President, NATO’s exercises near Bornholm, the tweet by Poland’s Foreign Minister thanking the United States on the pipeline, opening of the Baltic pipeline and NATO’s announcement following its strikes as examples of facts. “Will you deny that the current energy crisis in Europe is objectively increasing the competitiveness of United States energy producers?”, he questioned. While he had not previously linked the Nord Stream incident with the situation in Ukraine, he could now see that Western colleagues are considering this act of sabotage as a form of revenge for the Russian Federation’s actions in Ukraine. That statement, he noted, narrows down the suspects and can greatly help the investigation.
Mr. MILLS JR. (United States), taking the floor a second time, underscored that the United States categorically denies any involvement in these incidents. He recalled his previous statement, and those by briefers, that the energy situation in Europe is affected more by the Russian Federation’s unreliability as an energy supplier than anything to do with the United States. Pointing out that the Russian Federation has a record, over the last seven months, of destroying civilian infrastructure across Ukraine, he stated that, if any country has a record of doing the sort of things being discussed at this meeting, it is not the United States.
Mr. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) requested the floor for Mr. Kupriyanov to deliver a brief comment.
Mr. DE RIVIÈRE (France), in his capacity as Council President for September, said that, while he did not intend to give the floor back to the briefers, the Russian Federation could as the “majority owner of Gazprom”.
Mr. KUPRIYANOV began to express his disagreement with Mr. Eyl-Mazzega’s overview of the gas market.
Mr. DE RIVIÈRE (France) interrupted, stating: “I did not give you the floor. The representative of the Russian Federation has the floor.”
Mr. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said he could not speak for Gazprom and was simply passing along a request for the floor.
Mr. DE RIVIÈRE (France) noted he was pleased Gazprom can ask for the floor through the Russian Federation and added that, if the owner wished to speak, he could. Otherwise, the meeting would be adjourned.
Mr. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), in valuing the President’s irony, clarified that Gazprom communicated their request through the Russian Federation because they had the means to and not because of the Russian Federation’s position as majority shareholder.
Mr. DE RIVIÈRE (France), in emphasizing the Gazprom representative’s opportunity to speak alongside other participants, adjourned the meeting.