Europe investigates 'attacks' on Russian gas pipelines

STORY: This boiling water, churning above Russian gas pipelines, is the result of what Germany, Denmark and Sweden are now calling ‘attacks’ which have caused major leaks into the Baltic Sea.

The two Nord Stream pipelines are at the center of an energy standoff between Russia and Europe.

Denmark and Sweden released striking images a day after the leaks were reported, saying the largest gas leak had caused surface disturbance of around 0.6 miles in diameter.

But it remains unclear what -- or who -- could have been behind the Nord Stream pipeline leaks.

Europe on Tuesday said it was investigating claims of intentional attack levelled by several countries.

Poland's Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau pointed fingers at Russia - though without evidence.

“We are not in a position to reject the notion that this could be an element of Russian hybrid war against NATO.”

"The explosions took place very close to Danish territorial waters, but not within the Danish territorial waters because if this were the case, this would be an intrusion into the NATO territory.”

Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson also expressed concern.

"We have Swedish intelligence, but we have also received information in our contacts with Denmark, and based on this concluded that this is probably a deliberate act. It is probably a matter of sabotage."

Kristoffer Bottzauw is head of Denmark's Energy Agency.

"It is very rare that damages of this type occur, and now three damages have happened within 24 hours, which is why we are very worried about what the reason for this could be."

Bottzauw says it could take a week for gas to stop draining out of Nord Stream 2, that ships could lose buoyancy if they entered the area, and warned that because the sea surface is full of methane, there is an increased risk of explosions.

Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia after they launched what they called a 'special military operation' in Ukraine earlier this year.

Moscow slashed its gas deliveries to Europe in retaliation, blaming Western sanctions for causing technical difficulties.

But on Tuesday, Moscow also agreed that sabotage was a possibility.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that sabotage was a lose-lose situation.

"The leaks are under investigation, there are initial reports indicating that this may be the result of an attack or some kind of sabotage, but these are initial reports and we haven't confirmed that yet. But if it is confirmed, that is clearly in no one's interest."

The escalating energy war between European capitals and Moscow has damaged major Western economies, sent gas prices soaring, and has sparked a hunt for alternative supplies.

While neither of the two pipelines currently leaking were in use on Monday, the incidents will sink any remaining expectations that Europe could receive fuel via Nord Stream 1 before winter.