European security officials observed Russian Navy ships in vicinity of Nord Stream pipeline leaks

CNN —European security officials on Monday and Tuesday observed Russian Navy support ships in the vicinity of leaks in the Nord Stream pipelines likely caused by underwater explosions, according two Western intelligence officials and one other source familiar with the matter.
Russian submarines were also observed not far from those areas last week, one of the intelligence officials said.
Russian ships routinely operate in the area, according to one Danish military official, who emphasized that the presence of the ships doesn’t necessarily indicate that Russia caused the damage.
US officials declined to comment on the intelligence about the ships on Wednesday.
But senior Western officials have so far stopped short of attributing the attack to Russia or any other nation.
Other than Sullivan, US officials have been far more circumspect than their European counterparts in drawing conclusions about the leaks.
Typically, the official said, Russia isn’t organized enough to move so quickly, suggesting that the maneuver was pre-planned.
If Russia did deliberately cause the explosions, it would be effectively sabotaging its own pipelines: Russian state company Gazprom is the majority shareholder in Nord Stream 1 and the sole owner of Nord Stream 2.
US and western intelligence officials believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is gambling that as electricity costs rise and winter approaches, European publics could turn against the Western strategy of isolating Russia economically.
Russia slashed gas supplies to Europe via Nord Stream 1 before suspending flows altogether in August, blaming Western sanctions for causing technical difficulties.
“They weight their economic pain against Europe’s.”The new Nord Stream 2 pipeline had yet to enter commercial operations.
The US warned several European allies over the summer, including Germany, that the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines could face threats and even be attacked, according to two people familiar with the intelligence and the warnings.
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