Member states must strengthen their energy and other key sectors against potential sabotage, the bloc warned
Europe must take steps to protect its energy, communications, transport and other critical infrastructure from potential sabotage, the European Commission will recommend this week, according to Bloomberg. The EU governing body will also issue a “blueprint” for responding to future crises, the outlet revealed on Monday.
“Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has brought a new set of threats, often combined as a hybrid attack,” the document reportedly states. “This has become blatantly obvious with the apparent sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines.”
The bloc is concerned Moscow will retaliate against a planned price cap on seaborne Russian gas supplies by sabotaging European infrastructure, Bloomberg writes.
Just weeks after explosions ruptured the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea, a leak in the Druzhba oil pipeline, which carries Russian crude to Europe, was discovered in central Poland. Blamed on “accidental damage,” it was quickly repaired, according to operator PERN. Rail traffic in Northern Germany was shut down for several hours earlier this month following an apparent act of sabotage targeting fiber-optic communications cables, although authorities did not suspect foreign interference.
Several European nations have more or less explicitly pointed to Russia as the culprit in the sabotage of Nord Stream, despite a dearth of publicly-available evidence. Sweden has refused to allow Moscow to examine the results of its investigation, having previously withdrawn from a planned joint probe with Denmark and Germany, citing privacy concerns. Russia has countered that it will not recognize the results unless it is allowed to take part, hinting that failing to share their conclusions will be interpreted as having “something to hide” or otherwise being complicit in a coverup.
The day after Nord Stream was sabotaged, the Baltic Pipe opened between Norway and Poland, carrying gas south via Denmark. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised the crippling of the pipelines as a “tremendous opportunity” for Europe to “once and for all remove dependence on Russian energy,” and the continent is increasing imports of US liquefied natural gas in an effort to bridge the shortfall created by EU sanctions on Russian energy.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for stress-testing critical European infrastructure last week at a conference in Tallinn, vowing to work with member states to conduct such tests as energy assets had become a target for attack. The EC is also working on digitizing its energy system and plans to propose legislation to cut back on cybersecurity risks to its gas and hydrogen networks starting next year, Bloomberg reported.
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