NATO promises an answer against hybrid warfare. With a new leak in the Nord Stream gas pipelines to the Baltic Sea, the Atlantic Alliance declared this Thursday that the series of leaks in the pipelines linking Russia to Germany are the result of acts of sabotage that will face a “united and determined response”. ”. It is the first time that the military alliance – which on Wednesday assured that it will reinforce the security of critical installations – has warned so clearly that it is ready and willing to respond to attacks on key infrastructure by its allies and protect them.
Neither NATO nor the European Commission, which has also promised a response to the sabotage, openly blames anyone for the explosions in the pipelines, which have caused an environmental disaster, have once again shaken the energy markets and have put on the table the vulnerabilities of the key facilities of the Twenty-seven to possible attacks. However, community sources, the Alliance and specialized analysts point to Russia as the most likely perpetrator of the sabotage, which the German, Danish and Swedish authorities are investigating.
“We commit to prepare for, deter and defend against the coercive use of energy and other hybrid tactics by state and non-state actors,” says a joint statement from the North Atlantic Council.
The incidents in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines – which were not pumping gas at the time of the explosions – come at the height of the escalation of tension by Russian President Vladimir Putin against the West. The Russian leader, who has waved nuclear threats and is using energy as a pressure lever, is preparing to annex four Ukrainian regions through illegal votes and sharpens the war he launched in February in the neighboring country, sending dozens of thousands of recruits mobilized these days in Russia.
The pseudo-referendums, which will serve Putin to pave the annexation with which he seeks to redesign the map so that these territories are part of Russia, also increase the risk of nuclear war, the EU and NATO have warned. The Kremlin has warned that it will consider an attack on Russia any attack on the four Ukrainian regions it wants to annex – Kherson, Zaporizhia, Lugansk and Donetsk – and in which it has placed puppet authorities.
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wake up call
The discharges derived from the powerful explosions in the gas pipelines, which were full to maintain constant pressure, have been an important wake-up call on the security of the key infrastructures for the countries, allied sources point out. Hybrid warfare—which can range from propaganda to cyberattacks, including sabotage of critical facilities—aims to destabilize and even paralyze a country.
Russia has defined the incidents in the gas pipelines as an “act of terrorism” and given the information that there were Russian submarines in an area near the explosions, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, has stressed that there was a “much larger” presence of NATO in the area.
After the alert for the sabotage of the gas pipelines, Brussels is moving to reinforce the protection of its infrastructures. It is a complex subject. A 2021 community directive proposes formulas to reduce vulnerabilities in critical facilities —both physical and those systems that provide basic services, such as banking, water supply, energy, cyberspace, telecommunications—, but it is the States who deal with the protection of its infrastructures. On Friday, the foreign ministers of the Twenty-seven will discuss the incident and a possible response at a meeting in Brussels in which emergency measures will be approved to deal with supply problems stemming from the Kremlin’s energy battle with the EU.
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