Pentagon chief offers support to Danish counterpart over Nord Stream pipeline leak

Lloyd Austin
AP/Roman Koksarov
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin talks during the press conference with Minister of Defence of Latvia Artis Pabriks during the press conference in Riga, Latvia, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday spoke with his Danish counterpart to offer potential U.S. assistance following explosions and leaks at the Nord Stream pipeline, according to a senior defense official. 

“Secretary Austin has had the opportunity to speak with [Danish Defense Minister Morten Bødskov] today and just offer that, if there’s any support that they need we’re there for them,” the official told Pentagon reporters on a background call. 

A senior military official who also spoke said the U.S. military has the capability to assist in the region, “but we haven’t been asked to do so.” 

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have also reached out to their counterparts in Denmark about the leaks. 

On Tuesday, seismic stations near the Baltic Sea recorded explosions as the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines began experiencing leaks. The two natural gas pipelines run under the sea from Russia to Germany, though they don’t currently supply gas to Europe. 

European leaders and experts have quickly pointed to possible sabotage as the reason for the sudden leaks, as the West is in an energy standoff with Russia over its war in Ukraine. 

Danish officials, meanwhile, have said the leaks were caused by “deliberate actions.”  

State Department spokesperson Ned Price earlier Wednesday said Washington is now “sharing information that is in our possession regarding these apparent acts of sabotage” on the pipelines, though they “have more questions than answers at this point.” 

He added that an investigation into the matter “could well take time,” due to the complicated nature of looking into the pipelines, which sit between 80 and 100 meters below the water’s surface. 

“We’re going to allow the investigation to play out before we start to lay out theories or hypotheses,” Price told reporters at a State Department briefing. 

Tags Antony Blinken Jake Sullivan Lloyd Austin Ned Price
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