• Nord Stream pipelines originate from Russia and pass under the Baltic Sea to Germany
  • These pipelines have been a key flashpoint in the energy war between Europe and Moscow since the invasion of Ukraine
  • Russia and the U.S. have blamed each other for the damage to the pipelines
  • European countries suspect sabotage but have refrained from identifying a suspect

The U.K.'s Ministry of Defense announced Monday that a warship of the Royal Navy was joining the Norwegian forces operating in the North Sea to protect the gas pipelines following last week's explosions that led to leaks in the two Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic.

A press release issued by the U.K.'s Ministry of Defense said Defense Secretary Ben Wallace had met virtually with ministers from Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) partner nations to discuss attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea and "share assessments of the blatant and irresponsible attacks against critical civilian infrastructure."

The JEF is a group of nations including Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom — with a common focus on security in the core regions of the High North, North Atlantic and Baltic Sea region, the release said.

The group discussed the need to coordinate security response and increase maritime presence following the attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines. After the meeting, a Royal Navy frigate was sent to the North Sea where it would work with the Norwegian Navy to reassure those working near the gas pipelines.

Although the statement by the U.K.'s Ministry of Defense did not specify the type of frigate, a report from The Telegraph said it was most likely the Type 23 HMS Somerset, which had been taking part in training with Norwegian forces in Stavanger, Norway.

Sweden had sent a submarine rescue and diving vessel Monday, after which the Swedish Coast Guard said the Nord Stream 1 stopped leaking. However, an overflight suggested that gas was still draining out of Nord Stream 2 and bubbling to the surface over a 30-meter (32-yard) radius.

Following the leaks reported Monday, Russia said it would investigate the damage caused to the gas pipelines as a case of "international terrorism."

Russia's Foreign Ministry blamed the U.S. for the sabotage, alleging that it would benefit from the pipeline being out of action because it would allow Washington to increase the sales and prices of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a result. Washington strongly denied any involvement and, in turn, blamed Russia for the damage.

European countries that speculate about sabotage, however, have refrained from identifying a suspect, pending an investigation into the damage.

The Nord Stream pipelines, which originate from Russia and pass under the Baltic Sea to Germany, have been one of the key flashpoints in an escalating energy war between Europe and Moscow following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.

The Nord Stream 1, which ran at reduced capacity since mid-June, stopped supplies altogether in August. Meanwhile, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, despite being complete, never became operational. The leak was first reported in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, following which the Nord Stream 1 pipeline also reported a pressure drop.

Gas leak at Nord Stream 2 as seen from the Danish F-16 interceptor on Bornholm