The EC proposed a new package of sanctions against Moscow
The CIA warned EU countries weeks ago of a possible attack on the Nord Stream gas pipeline, Der Spiegel magazine reported. American intelligence, however, refused to indicate who could be behind the attack.
The information did not specify either the exact time or place for the so-called sabotage by the West, aimed at bringing panic to the Old Continent just before the onset of winter.
The mysterious leaks appeared from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines at the beginning of the week. The breaks in the pipes were made in the waters of Sweden and Denmark, and seismologists detected explosions in the area.
Serious suspicions about the attack for the moment fall on the Kremlin, although there is still no concrete evidence. The authorities of Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Latvia are investigating the incident, which happened off the Danish island of Bornholm.
European officials were quick to issue a statement, noting that “nobody thinks what happened was anything other than Russian sabotage.” The Kremlin, for its part, has denied involvement, calling the accusations “stupid.”
Western analysts say that Moscow definitely has the capacity to carry out such an attack. It has the largest spy submarine fleet in the world, including Belgorod, a nuclear submarine designed to attack infrastructure in the water. The location of the explosions is at a depth of between 80 and 90 m – shallow enough to be reached by divers.
The explosions occurred on the day Poland, Norway and Denmark opened a new pipeline running under the Baltic Sea. Under these circumstances, the incident can be interpreted as a warning to Europe that its infrastructure is vulnerable.
The damage suffered by the Nord Stream near Sweden is unprecedented. The recorded explosions caused a huge gas leak into the Baltic Sea from three holes. Footage has emerged that clearly shows a circle with a diameter of about 1 km in which balloons are actively emerging from the water.
On Wednesday, the EC proposed an eighth consecutive package of sanctions against Russia. It further expands the ban on the import of Russian products, which will deprive Moscow of an additional 7 billion euros in revenue. Among the new banned goods are aviation items and electronic components, as well as specific chemical substances.
EU citizens will not have the right to participate in the management bodies of Russian state enterprises. Within the energy sector, the head of the EC recalled that since the beginning of December, the import of Russian crude oil by sea into the EU has been prohibited.
With the new package of sanctions, a ceiling on the prices of Russian oil for third countries is also introduced.