Experts said that although Russia may have attacked Nord Stream pipelines this past week, the North Atlantic Organization established to collectively defend against Moscow will not likely mount a military reaction.
NATO promised a strong response after the “deliberate, reckless acts of sabotage” in which two Nord Stream pipelines carrying gas from Russia to Germany were blasted. NATO experts on defense and NATO claim that although the organization is legally obliged by Article V to respond immediately to any attack and has even accused Russia, it is unlikely to use military force against Russia.
Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former assistant secretary of the Defense Department stated that “First, it wasn’t working anymore. So [the leak] doesn’t affect anything that much.”
It may also be difficult for member countries to determine whether Russia ordered or conducted the attack. Korb said, “Even though it’s Russia at 70% it’s not going be 100%. ”
Allies of NATO pledged to “deter and defend against coercive energy use” and other aggressive acts in an immediate statement following the attacks.
John Hardie, deputy director of the Russia Program of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told us that Russia repeatedly attacked NATO members and NATO territories that are not above the threshold of conventional war. None of these acts has triggered any military reaction.
Jasen Castillo, an associate professor from Texas A&M University with a background in military strategy and defense policy, stated that NATO is unlikely to invoke Article V.
According to CNN, which cites U.S. military officers and Denmark, Russia is suspected of having sabotaged its own pipelines to prevent any possibility of restoring the Russian gas supply to Europe.
CNN reported one European country witnessed Russian warships pass through the Baltic Sea region where the four explosions were confirmed.
Moscow stated Wednesday that Russia’s attempts to blame it for Wednesday’s tragedy were “predictably stupid”, according to Reuters. Dmitri Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson said that Russia had lost its largest market and that the country was losing “very expensive” gas pipes.
“Are there any other interests?” Peskov replied, “No, that’s not what we want.”
After the news about the gas leaks, a diplomat from Poland thanked America in a now-defunct Twitter message.
Ned Price is the State Department Press Secretary and stated that the U.S. is “preposterous” in suggesting the destruction of the Nord Stream Pipelines.
Castillo stated that he believed, just like NATO, that this was an act of sabotage by Russia.
Castillo explained how Russia attempted to restrict the flow to Europe of natural gas in order to exert “coercive leverage” on NATO. Russia has reduced the flow to a trickle since the conflict in Ukraine. Even though one of the Nord Stream pipelines was at full capacity, it is a punishment to Russia for trying to isolate Russia and supply military gear to Ukraine.
Korb said that Russia could have shut the pipelines down to “make sure Europe realizes it’s going to be cold winter, which would give the Kremlin a symbolic victory. ”
Hardie stated that it was difficult to imagine another country with such capability and will.
Russia has a long history of spreading disinformation—and is doing it again regarding the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. @StateDeptSpox responded clearly to this disinformation during today’s press briefing. pic.twitter.com/YzcBW3n84M
— Department of State (@StateDept) September 28, 2022
Castillo said that military escalation could also be used to threaten Russian threats of using nuclear weapons against Ukraine and its allies.
Experts suggested members could increase the number and frequency of naval and air patrols in the Baltic Sea in order to deter Russia and increase sanctions pressure.
Korb said that Russia could attack the pipelines and “come back to haunt them”.