A Polish politician, who is married to American leftist writer Anne Applebaum, ignited a firestorm on social media this week by suggesting that the United States was behind the damage to Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea this week.
The tweet from Radoslaw Sikorski came after explosions were reported where the pipelines are located in the Baltic Sea, which was followed by a sharp decrease in the conduits’ pressure.
“Thank you, USA,” Sikorski, a member of European Parliament and chairman of the Delegation for relations with the United States, declared on Twitter.
Thank you, USA. pic.twitter.com/nALlYQ1Crb
— Radek Sikorski MEP (@radeksikorski) September 27, 2022
“[By the way], there’s no shortage of pipeline capacity for taking gas from Russia to Western Europe, including Germany,” Sikorski claimed on Twitter. “Nordstream’s only logic was for Putin to be able to blackmail or wage war on Eastern Europe with impunity.”
“All Ukrainian and Baltic sea states have opposed Nordstream’s construction for 20 years,” he continued. “Now $20 billion of scrap metal lies at the bottom of the sea, another cost to Russia of its criminal decision to invade Ukraine. Someone, @MFA_Russia , did a special maintenance operation.”
Nord Stream AG, the Russian company behind the pipelines, released a statement on the incident, calling it “unprecedented.”
“The destruction that occurred on the same day simultaneously on three strings of the offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented,” the company said in a statement. “It is not yet possible to estimate the timing of the restoration of the gas transport infrastructure.”
A report from German news outlet Spiegel said that the CIA had cautioned Germany about possible attacks on Baltic Sea gas pipelines weeks ago. Berlin is presently assuming it was a targeted attack on the Nord Stream system, unnamed sources said.
Germany, the continent’s largest economy, relied upon Russian natural gas for 55% of its imports before the beginning of the conflict. The producer price index for industrial products in Germany has risen 45.8% year-over-year as of August 2022, according to data from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, which followed increases of 37.2% in July 2022 and 32.7% in June 2022.
Several manufacturers have therefore paused operations in response to high energy prices and a likely drop in consumer demand. Industrial production in the eurozone has fallen 2.3%, according to data from the European Union.
Ben Zeisloft contributed to this report.