Nord Stream leak: Now European countries will ensure the safety of pipelines
European countries will tighten security around oil and gas installations after the suspected sabotage of two major pipelines.
The leaks on the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines were discovered on Monday and Tuesday. Russia has previously been accused of using gas supplies as a weapon against the West over its support for Ukraine.
Though neither pipeline was operating at the time, as the Nord Stream 2 project was abandoned when Russia invaded Ukraine, and Russia shut down Nord Stream 1 in September, citing a need for maintenance.
But both pipelines were still full of gas, which bubbled to the surface in an area a kilometer wide on the sea's surface.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov has dismissed accusations of sabotage as "predictable, stupid and absurd".
An investigation on suspected sabotage has been launched.
European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen has promised the "strongest possible response" if the attack is proven to have been deliberate.
As a result of the alleged attacks, Norway, which is now Europe's largest gas supplier, has decided to deploy its military to protect crucial infrastructure.
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference that the military would be "more visible" at oil and gas installations.
Any attack would be handled jointly with allies, he said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he had discussed the protection of critical infrastructure with the defence minister of Denmark, the country closest to the damage.
And in the US, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the country would continue its work to safeguard Europe's energy security.