Following what is believed to be a major sabotage operation to destroy the Nord Stream gas pipelines, Poland’s former Foreign and Defense Minister Radosław Sikorski thanked the United States for damaging the pipelines, prompting some critics in Poland to say he crossed a line and hurt Poland’s image abroad.
“You can be sure that this entry will circulate in all Russian media,” posted Maciej Wąsik, Poland’s secretary of state in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration.
Sikorski’s post was widely disseminated and written about in the global press, and Russia was no exception. Indeed, Sikorski’s post was soon quoted by Russian TASS agency and Russia’s Foreign Ministry Twitter account.
Sikorski’s post was not the only evidence for those who believe the U.S. was behind the sabotage operation. Footage of President Joe Biden threatening the end of Nord Stream 2 if Russia invaded Ukraine went viral after leaders in Sweden and Denmark confirmed that the pipelines were sabotaged.
The U.S. has long made it one of its top strategic objectives in Europe to end Nord Stream 2, with Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, making a similar warning as Biden’s before the war in Ukraine broke out.
However, for most analysts, these past statements and Sikorski’s post yesterday still offer no real evidence of who was behind the attacks, with some speculating that Russia blew up its own pipelines in NATO-controlled water in Denmark’s maritime zone. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has also stated that he believes Russia was behind the attack.
However, even if Russia had the capability to avoid detection in NATO waters to blow up its own pipelines in multiple different locations, critics have pointed out that there are a number of reasons Russia would have little motive to destroy its own infrastructure. Despite the billions it invested in the pipelines, it also already controls when gas can start or stop, giving it a powerful tool to either reward its allies or punish its rivals. In addition, it would take a major geopolitical and strategic option off the table for Russia in the future, such as if a European government were to change power in the future and offer a more friendly stance towards Russia.
Zbigniew Rau, Poland’s foreign minister, called for the incident to be examined by independent international investigators.
The Polish foreign minister is reported to have spoken by telephone to the Danish foreign minister, Jeppe Kofod, about the matter, according to Polish media outlet TVP. They both agreed that this was now an international problem. Kofod wrote that “it is essential now not to speculate, but to do everything in our power to conduct a safe but thorough investigation into what has happened.”
Danish security forces on Tuesday published photographs showing how gas has been released into the Baltic Sea in three places. The leakage came from both Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines.
Sweden’s national seismological monitoring institution SNSN confirmed that it registered two sizable underwater explosions.