What Global Conflicts Might Arise From the Destroyed Nord Stream Pipelines?
By Jonathan Shen
The Russia-Ukraine war has been headliner news since late February 2022, when Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, declared Ukraine's “demilitarization and denazification.” Ukraine left the Soviet Union in 1991 to become an independent democratic country. On February 24, 2022, Putin pushed his agenda by sending troops into Ukraine with the intention of seizing the land. Ukraine has many more allies than Russia, but the feud remains between the two countries and their people because Putin threatens nuclear war if other countries send assistance to Ukraine.
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which transfer natural gas from Russia to Germany, were sabotaged on September 26, 2022. These pipelines were problematic for Ukraine and its allies because Germany heavily relied on Russia for natural gas, which helped fund the Russian invasions. Even though the sabotaged pipelines were not in use then, harmful amounts of gas leaked into the ocean surroundings after they were detonated, making the surrounding area lethally toxic. Although the possibility the explosions were an accident has not been ruled out, it is unlikely that they were. No entity has claimed responsibility, although accusations have been flung toward both sides. While Ukraine accuses Moscow of detonating the pipelines as an excuse to provoke more conflict, Russia claims that the United States or Ukraine sabotaged its pipelines.
A few weeks after the incident, Germany was prompted to investigate who blasted the pipelines. The investigators concluded that the perpetrators used several hundred pounds of explosives. The explosions caused many problems: increasing tensions between Russia and other countries, polluting the ocean, and possibly causing permanent closure of the pipes because the three ruptures span so vast it would be almost impossible to fix.
Many people have speculated about various countries’ potential involvement in blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines, suggesting U.S. involvement or Putin attempting to create more turmoil. However, there is no clear motivation for major countries to take such action: Russia destroying its own pipelines would harm the country financially, and countries who perform this action are at risk of starting a nuclear war against Russia. A more likely possibility is that it was caused by an individual party trying to slow Russia’s assault on Ukraine. I believe this individual party was motivated by the heightened threats from Russia to start a nuclear war and could have done this to accelerate a possible evolution into a global or allied war. If such a war started, allied countries such as the United States would assist Ukraine and possibly stop Russia quicker than if Ukraine was to battle Russia by itself.
The already heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine and its allies have increased, possibly threatening world war or nuclear war. As Putin threatened nuclear war if outside nations interfered before, he claims outside interference caused the pipeline breaks. Even if Russia itself sabotaged the pipelines, it could still be a difficult situation as Putin now has an excuse to escalate the conflict. On the other hand, Ukraine and the United States, whom Russia blamed, believe that Russia is at fault for the pipe leaks, enraging more citizens as they blame Putin and Russia more, which could lead to riots or protests for intervention. In the case of Germany, which is investigating the case, they have to find some other way to get natural gas, encouraging them to lower their reliance on Russian energy. Nothing is known for now, and the world awaits the answers from the investigations.