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Imperative that rapid worsening of Ukraine crisis is promptly arrested: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-09-29 21:00

A photo taken on Sept 28, 2022 from an aircraft of the Swedish Coast Guard (Kustbevakningen) shows the release of gas emanating from a leak on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, in the Swedish economic zone in the Baltic Sea. [Photo/Agencies]

Another leak has been detected in the undersea pipelines running from Russia to Europe, the Swedish Coast Guard said on Thursday.

That means four leaks have now been detected in the pipelines running from Russia to Europe, according to the Swedish Coast Guard.

Sweden has detected two leaks on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on its side of the sea, while Denmark has confirmed it has detected a leak on both the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines on its side.

Suggestions of sabotage quickly emerged after the first three leaks were detected after seismologists reported explosions that "rattled the Baltic Sea", with some European officials and energy experts promptly laying the blame at Russia's door claiming that it directly benefits from higher energy prices and economic anxiety across Europe.

Although the loss of leverage would suggest otherwise.

Others have suggested Ukraine might have been responsible in a bid to frame Russia for an attack on European Union energy infrastructure and drag NATO into the conflict on its side.

The EU has certainly responded predictably with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell saying in a statement on behalf of all 27 members on Wednesday that: "Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response."

Others have pointed fingers at the United States. A video clip from February showing US President Joe Biden vowing to prevent Nord Stream 2 from operating if Russia began its "special military operation" in Ukraine went viral on social media on Wednesday, and there have also been media reports about the frequent presence of United States Navy ships near the waters since August.

But with no party stepping forward to claim responsibility, it remains to be seen if an investigation can determine what happened, and if the damage was deliberate, who should be held accountable.

Some things are certain, however. Europe's energy crisis has undoubtedly become even more severe, and the outlook for European countries in the coming winter is even bleaker than it was.

The Nord Stream pipeline leaks have also added even more uncertainty and complexity to the Ukraine crisis. The likely sabotage should prompt members of the world community to join hands to find a peaceful solution to end the Ukraine crisis at an early date. Not least because all countries will feel the effects.

Whether by design or ignorance, the leaks are a climate catastrophe. Huge volumes of methane, which is significantly more potent than carbon dioxide at absorbing the sun's heat and warming the Earth, are being pumped into the Baltic Sea and atmosphere.

Talks to end the conflict are imperative to arrest the seemingly relentless spiral into an abyss.

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