The international organization responsible for collective defense of the U.S. and European allies said sabotage was responsible for attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines Thursday.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), of which the U.S. is a member, said the explosions detected on the twin pipelines in the Baltic Sea Monday and Tuesday were a cause for “deep concern” and could require a coordinated response in a statement. Many of the countries near the Baltic Sea had initially suggested sabotage as the most likely explanation for the nearly simultaneous leaks, but no entity has yet claimed responsibility.
“All currently available information indicates that this is the result of deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible acts of sabotage,” the body’s North Atlantic Council said, without providing detail.
A spokesperson for NATO declined to comment when the Daily Caller News Foundation asked what evidence could point to sabotage.
The European Union said on Tuesday the attacks could be attributed to sabotage after Germany, Denmark and Russia did the same.
NATO did not speculate on the perpetrator but suggested the attacks could demonstrate “coercive” use of energy as a warfare tactic by “state and non-state actors.”
Discussed the sabotage on the #NorthStream pipelines with Defence Minister @mfMorten of our valued Ally #Denmark. We addressed the protection of critical infrastructure in #NATO countries. pic.twitter.com/GCRgVOTR2S
— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) September 28, 2022
The CIA had warned earlier in the summer that hostile actors might target the pipeline system. The Nord Stream pipelines formed a critical energy link between Russia and the rest of Europe, becoming the subject of political tensions after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
German officials fear the attacks could render the pipelines permanently unusable, nullifying the potential for Russia to restart gas flows to energy-starved Europe.
“Any deliberate attack against Allies’ critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response,” the body’s North Atlantic Council said, noting that the attacks took place in international waters.
The statements from NATO mark the first time the organization, bound by a mutual defense treaty, has officially confirmed it would defend against attacks on critical infrastructure, such as energy installations, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“NATO is committed to deter and defend against hybrid attacks,” NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement.
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