German and Norwegian leaders will jointly ask NATO to coordinate the protection of Europe's underwater infrastructure in light of alleged attacks on the Nord Stream pipeline network, Reuters reported.
European countries have stepped up their vigilance over critical facilities following the September rupture of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines linking Russia and Germany. Investigators found traces of explosives at the scene and suspect the pipelines were blown up deliberately.
Standing next to Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere at a briefing, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said NATO's involvement would send a message to the outside world. "We take the protection of our critical infrastructure very seriously and nobody should think that attacks would remain without consequences," he said. "Pipelines, telephone cables, Internet connections are lifelines for our states and must be especially protected," he said.
Norway has played a crucial role in bringing gas to Europe after Russia cut exports. Scholz said Norway currently provides about half of Germany's needs.