It is too early to talk about an international investigation of the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 accidents. This is how Dmitry Polyansky, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, assessed this prospect in an interview with Izvestia. At Moscow's request, a meeting of the UN Security Council on the situation around the Nord Streams pipeline will be held on September 30, where, according to the diplomat, Russia expects to receive an assessment of what happened from its colleagues. All sides-both the West and the Russian Federation — agree that gas leaks on pipelines were caused by sabotage. They also agree that these incidents should be investigated. However, international investigative activities have not yet begun, and individual countries have already begun to blame each other for what happened.A series of subtleties
There is no doubt that the accidents on the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines (SP – 1 and SP-2) need to be investigated. In European countries, particularly Latvia, there are calls for the EU and NATO to study the incident in "close coordination". The US said it was ready to "support the efforts" of its European partners.
Moscow is also talking about this: According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, the Russian Federation "would like to believe" that " an international investigation into what happened on gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea will be objective." The country does not exclude the possibility of its participation in the investigation. "If there are any requests, we will consider them. So far, as far as I know, no such reports have been received," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on September 28.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in turn, said: Russia will insist that the owner of the pipelines, the Russian company Gazprom, take part in this investigation.
Nevertheless, representatives of the Russian Federation consider it premature to talk about international investigative measures.
"It's too early to talk about a possible international investigation at this stage," Dmitry Polyansky, Russia's first Deputy permanent Representative to the UN, said in an interview with Izvestia, answering the question of how realistic it is to form an international investigation group with Russia's participation.
In connection with the accident, Moscow requested a meeting of the UN Security Council — it will be held on September 30. Dmitry Polyansky said that representatives of the Russian Federation are waiting for " assessments of what happened from colleagues in the Security Council."
Meanwhile, the Swedish police have already begun their investigation-they qualified the incident as a gross sabotage. Russia has also taken up the task of studying the details of what happened — the FSB will investigate the cases of SP-1 and SP-2 in the framework of a criminal case under the article on international terrorism.
— Gazprom would be interested in an investigation, since the accident affects its commercial interests. At the same time, the pipeline was insured, and the damage assessment should be followed by compensation, "Nikolai Topornin, Director of the Center for European Information, Associate Professor of the Department of European Law at MGIMO, explained to Izvestia. — As for the investigation, there are a lot of international legal and technical subtleties: gas pipelines are located in the territorial waters of some states, in foreign jurisdictions. Without the participation of technically equipped countries — such as the United States and Russia-it will be difficult to get to the bottom of the truth, because here you need satellite images, traffic monitoring near the scene of the incident.
However, in the current political environment, cooperation in this investigation seems unlikely, the expert believes. This is also indicated by the fact that the parties began to accuse each other of incidents even before the start of investigative measures, he noted.On sabotage-consensus
Accidents on the Nord Stream and Nord Stream – 2 gas pipelines occurred on the night of September 27: First, a gas leak was recorded on one of the lines of SP-2 in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Denmark, south-east of Bornholm Island, and then on both lines of SP — 1 in the same EEZ, but already north-east of Bornholm. Denmark has established five-mile zones around the leak zones, where navigation is prohibited.
The company-operator of JV-1 Nord Stream AG said that the unprecedented destruction occurred simultaneously and it is not yet possible to estimate the recovery time. At the same time, the German newspaper Tagesspiegel, citing sources, noted that the accident occurred due to "targeted sabotage", which could only be carried out by special forces (divers or a submarine).
"The gas leak on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the exclusive economic zones of Norway and Sweden is the result of explosions, possibly caused by sabotage," Swedish Prime Minister Ann Linde wrote on Twitter on September 27, noting that the authorities are collecting information and" do not exclude any participants and motives."
uggestions about who could blow up the gas pipelines began to sound almost immediately. Tagesspiegel wrote that Ukrainian or Ukrainian-related forces may be responsible. Representatives of some European countries-in particular, the Prime Minister of Poland, the Deputy Prime Minister of Spain and the Minister of Defense of Latvia — blamed Russia for the incidents. In Moscow, they started talking about the fact that the United States was involved in the accidents.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova first said that US President Joe Biden is obliged to answer the question of whether the US has implemented the threat to " end Nord Stream if Russia invades Ukraine." Then, quoting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland's similar words about SP-2, she wondered "when Brussels will wake up." In the White House, hints of Washington's responsibility for sabotage were called ridiculous.
On September 29, Maria Zakharova stressed that the incidents occurred in the EEZ of "the most Nato-centric countries that are stuffed with American weapons, which are fully controlled by American special services." And a little later in the day, she directly called on the United States to "explain and still confess." The United States did not make any accusations against the Russian Federation.Recovery Issue
Nord Stream AG expects to stop the SP-1 leaks by October 3. At the same time, the company noted that it is impossible to predict how further work will go until the operator's specialists approach the area of the accident. "Currently, access there is restricted," Nord Stream AG said. According to Danish Defense Minister Morten Bedskov, it will be possible to inspect the damaged areas no earlier than in one to two weeks.
"The real state of affairs is this: it can easily take one or two weeks for the area [of the pipeline emergency] to become calm enough to really consider what happened," he said on September 28.
On the same day, Tagesspiegel, citing sources in the German government, reported: there is a risk that all damaged threads will become unusable forever. According to the newspaper, without prompt repairs, a lot of salt water will get into the gas pipelines, which will cause them to corrode. Thus, the question arises as to whether the rapid recovery of SP-1 and SP-2 is realistic.
"This should be done either by Gazprom or some other Russian structures-it is unlikely that foreign companies will participate in this," Igor Yushkov, a leading analyst at the National Energy Security Foundation, told Izvestia. — It is necessary to bring pipe-laying vessels to the site, lift the section of pipe, remove the damaged piece and weld a new one. In theory, this can be done. The question is whether it is necessary if the Europeans say that they will not use gas pipelines and plan to reduce the purchase of Russian gas. It may be unprofitable to fix it.
As for deliveries, accidents did not affect their volumes: SP-1 was suspended due to repairs in early September, and SP-2 was never put into operation.
"These are strategic risks for Europe," Igor Yushkov believes. — It was always assumed that if there is a severe energy crisis — there will be a harsh winter and there will not be enough gas — in extreme cases, it will be possible to urgently appeal to Russia by launching SP-2 or replacing the turbines with SP-1. Now this safety net is gone.
Since Gazprom cannot increase the volume of pumping through existing pipelines, there is nothing to replace the supply through SP-1, the expert notes: only the gas pipeline through Ukraine, through which only 40% of the contract volumes are pumped, and the fully filled Turkish Stream remain.
SOURCE Ekaterina Postnikova reporting for Izvestia RU / September 30, 2022,
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