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European countries sign treaty to protect North Sea infrastructure from Russian attacks

European countries sign treaty to protect North Sea infrastructure from Russian attacks European countries signed a treaty to protect underwater infrastructure (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

On April 9, six European countries with coastlines on the North Sea have signed an agreement to jointly protect underwater infrastructure, particularly from potential Russian attacks, according to Reuters.

The agreement was signed by Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands. Threats to underwater cables and pipelines have become a concern for the security of Western European countries following explosions in September 2022 on the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines.

In May 2023, NATO stated that Russia could damage underwater cables to punish Western countries for supporting Ukraine.

"The North Sea is the powerhouse driving Europe's renewable and net zero ambitions, helping to bolster energy security on the continent. So, it's crucial we protect its critical energy infrastructure now and in the future," said Andrew Bowie, a British official in nuclear energy and renewable energy sources.

According to him, strengthening ties with key Northern European neighbors will help ensure the resilience of the infrastructure against those who may attempt to threaten or sabotage it.

Explosions on Nord Streams

The Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines were built by Russian Gazprom to transit 110 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually to Germany and other European countries. However, Nord Stream 2 has not been put into operation due to Russian aggression, and Nord Stream 1 was halted by Gazprom in the summer of 2022.

Three out of four branches of the gas pipelines were blown up on September 26, 2022. Investigation data indicate high activity of Russian military ships near the Nord Streams immediately before the explosion.

Media also reported that a private group of Ukrainian saboteurs on a yacht could be behind the sabotage, but this version is not being seriously considered.

In February 2024, Denmark and Sweden announced the conclusion of the investigation into the explosions on the Nord Streams.