AP

UK says Royal Navy ship in North Sea for pipeline protection

Oct 2, 2022, 2:58 PM | Updated: Oct 3, 2022, 2:53 pm

Britain's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, front, arrives in Downing Street in London, Wednesday, Sep...

Britain's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, front, arrives in Downing Street in London, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022 for the first cabinet meeting since Liz Truss was installed as British Prime Minister a day earlier. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Britain has sent a Royal Navy ship to patrol the North Sea, as Western allies try to increase protection for undersea pipelines and cables after blasts ruptured two natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, the defense ministry said Monday.

The Ministry of Defense said a navy frigate is in the North Sea, working with the Norwegian navy “to reassure those working near the gas pipelines.”

The announcement came after a meeting of the Joint Expeditionary Force group of northern European nations. The force brings together troops from 10 countries, including the Baltic and Nordic nations, and has seen its importance increase since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Britain’s defense ministry said “the group condemned the blatant attacks against civilian infrastructure.”

U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace also said Britain will acquire two specialist ships to protect undersea cables and pipes, with the first “multi-role survey ship for seabed warfare” operational by the end of next year.

Undersea blasts that damaged the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines last week have led to huge methane leaks. Nordic investigators said the blasts involved several hundred pounds of explosives.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday accused the West of sabotaging the Russia-built pipelines, a charge vehemently denied by the United States and its allies.

Britain has not officially blamed anyone for the blasts, but Wallace told the Conservative Party’s annual conference that “Putin’s reactions are wider than just Ukraine. His reach goes further. This week, we saw the ‘mysterious’ damage inflicted to the Nord Stream pipelines. And it should remind us all how fragile our economy and infrastructure is to such hybrid attacks.”

Britain has been a major contributor of military aid to Ukraine. Wallace said Britain would train another 20,000 to 30,000 Ukrainian troops in the U.K., in addition to the 10,000 it has trained this year.

Speaking at the U.K. Conservative Party’s annual conference in Birmingham, central England, Wallace said Britain was not seeking to remove Putin as Russia’s leader.

“We’re not in the business of regime change,” he said.

But he also said Putin was unlikely to de-escalate the conflict.

“I don’t think he is going to take an off-ramp,” Wallace said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo: Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Melinda French Gates speaks at the forum Emp...

Michelle Chapman and Thalia Beaty, The Associated Press

Melinda French Gates to donate $1 billion over next 2 years in support of women’s rights

Melinda French Gates said she will be donating $1B to individuals and organizations working on behalf of women and families globally.

1 day ago

Photo: Basketball Hall of Fame legend Bill Walton laughs during a practice session for the NBA All-...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Bill Walton, Hall of Fame player who became a star broadcaster, dies at 71

Bill Walton, who became a Hall of Famer for his NBA career and one of the biggest stars in basketball broadcasting, died Monday.

3 days ago

Photo: A shopper moves past a display of items in a Costco warehouse Saturday, May 18, 2024....

Associated Press

What’s open and closed on Memorial Day

Businesses increasingly have chosen to stay open on the holiday, leading to what is now one of the biggest retail sales weekends of the year.

3 days ago

Image:A portrait of Officer Vancouver Police Department officer Donald Sahota is displayed as he is...

The Associated Press

Man convicted of murder in death of Vancouver police officer shot by deputy

A Yakima man was found guilty of murder for his role in the death of a Vancouver police officer who was shot by a sheriff's deputy in error.

4 days ago

Image:The headquarters of Live Nation is shown June 29, 2020, in Beverly Hills, California. The Jus...

Associated Press

Government sues Ticketmaster owner and asks court to break up company’s monopoly on live events

The DOJ has accused Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation Entertainment of running an illegal monopoly over live events in America.

7 days ago

Image: Ambulances are seen at the airport where a London-Singapore flight that encountered severe t...

Associated Press

World news roundup: Man dies after turbulence; Iran funerals; Israel media law

A Singapore Airlines flight hit severe turbulence over the Indian Ocean and descended 6,000 feet in a span of about three minutes.

9 days ago

UK says Royal Navy ship in North Sea for pipeline protection