Gas prices have skyrocketed this afternoon, following reports of explosions at the sites of reported leaks in the Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea.
UK and Dutch benchmarks have soared 33 and 19 per cent respectively, as the continent investigates the explosions and leaks amid concerns of potential sabotage to the pipelines.
While the pipelines have not been supplying gas into Europe for several weeks, this has raised fears of potential supply shortages and escalation in the economic conflict between Russia and the West.
The European Union (EU) has topped up supplies to nearly 90 per cent ahead of winter, in case of further squeezes on gas flows into the troubled continent.
Gas is now pouring into the sea from three separate leaks from Nord Stream pipelines, with a Danish military flight over the leaks confirming the ruptures with striking images – including one showing an area of bubbling gas a kilometre wide on the sea’s surface.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak has called the damage to Nord Stream 1 and 2 “an act of aggression” and a “terrorist attack” caused by Russia and directed towards the EU.
He warned that the Kremlin wanted to cause pre-winter panic and urged the EU to increase military support for Ukraine.
Other European leaders have also raised the idea that the damage to the pipelines was deliberately inflicted.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki blamed the explosions on sabotage and argued it was probably linked to the war in Ukraine.
Denmark’s Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen said it was hard to imagine the multiple leaks could be a coincidence.
The EU has previously accused Russia of using a reduction in gas supplies as an economic weapon, in response to Western sanctions following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
However, Moscow has denied this, saying the sanctions have made it impossible to maintain the gas infrastructure properly.
A Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said he was “extremely concerned” about the reports of explosions on the pipeline, and the possibility of a deliberate attack could not be ruled out.