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Mystery blast on European gas line so big it sparked earthquake as Ukraine accuses Russia of ‘terrorist attack’

Mystery blast on European gas line so big it sparked earthquake as Ukraine accuses Russia of ‘terrorist attack’

A major investigation has been launched, with questions over Russia's potential involvement

A major investigation has been launched after a mysterious explosion caused a massive earthquake. Leaks have been reported from the site:

Swedish seismologists registered the explosions near the Nord Stream pipeline yesterday (26 September).

According to its National Seismology Centre (SNSN), one of the blasts recorded 2.3 on the Richter scale, with the first registered just after 2am on Monday and at 7.04pm later that day.

Following the explosions, national broadcaster SVT reported that there had been concerns over a potential leak from the pipelines - which is filled with gas but not delivering it to Europe - after bubbles were spotted over the site.

The leaks are both near the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm, which belongs to Denmark.

Denmark's armed forces later posted a video of the site of the gas leaks.

Discussing the blasts, SNSN expert Bjorn Lund said: "You can clearly see how the waves bounce from the bottom to the surface.

"There is no doubt that it was a blast or explosion. We even had a station in Kalix that picked this up."

Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukraine's presidential advisor, took to Twitter, calling it a clear act of aggression from Russia.

He said: "'Gas leak from NS-1 is nothing more that a terrorist attack planned by Russia and an act of aggression towards EU. Russia wants to destabilize economic situation in Europe and cause pre-winter panic. The best response and security investment — tanks for Ukraine. Especially German ones."

Poland's prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki also released a statement questioning the circumstances of the explosions.

He said: "Today we faced an act of sabotage, we don’t know all the details of what happened, but we see clearly that it’s an act of sabotage, related to the next step of escalation of the situation in Ukraine."

Anders Puck Nielsen, a researcher with the Centre for Maritime Operations at the Royal Danish Defence College, said the timing of the leaks was 'conspicuous' given the ceremony for the Baltic Pipe.

Two explosions were recorded along Nord Stream pipelines 1 and 2.
REUTERS/Alamy

"The arrow points in the direction of Russia," he said. "No one in the West is interested in having any kind of instability in the energy market."

On the topic of a potential sabotage, he said that 'technically speaking, this is not difficult. It just requires a boat. It requires some divers that know how to handle explosive devices'.

He said: "But I think if we look at who would actually benefit from disturbances, more chaos on the gas market in Europe, I think there’s basically only one actor right now that actually benefits from more uncertainty, and that is Russia."

According to some experts, the extent of the damage means the Nord Stream pipelines are unlikely to carry any gas to Europe this winter even if there was political will to bring them online.

Henning Gloystein and Jason Bush wrote: "Depending on the scale of the damage, the leaks could even mean a permanent closure of both lines."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "This is an unprecedented situation that requires an urgent investigation. We are extremely worried by this news."

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Featured Image Credit: Danish Defence Command

Topics: Ukraine, Russia, Politics, Volodymyr Zelensky, Vladimir Putin