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Insurers claim ‘government’ could have sabotaged Nord Stream – Kommersant

Lloyd’s of London and Arch Insurance have reportedly refused to pay compensation following the destruction of the gas pipelines

Insurance policies for the Nord Stream gas pipelines sabotaged in 2022 do not cover destruction or damage caused during military hostilities, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on Thursday, citing a claim filed at the High Court in London by two major Western companies.

The reported claim by Lloyd’s of London and Arch Insurance comes in response to a court filing in March by Nord Stream AG, the pipeline’s operator. 

The enterprise, which is 51% owned by Russian energy giant Gazprom, alleged at the time that insurers had failed to pay about €400 million ($438 million) for damage caused by the explosions at the pipelines, according to the Financial Times. Nord Stream AG reportedly estimates it would cost over €1.2 billion to fully repair the infrastructure and replace the lost gas inventory.

In response, the two insurers are said to have claimed that “loss or damage directly or indirectly occasioned by, happening through, or in consequence of war” cannot be covered by the policies. They added that Russia-Ukraine conflict, which began in February 2022, “satisfies the terms war, invasion hostilities or military power.” The insurers also argue the damage could have been caused “by or under the order of any government,” according to Kommersant. 

Commenting on the report, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said major concerns have been raised over the credibility of Western insurance giants. Any refusal to pay liabilities adds to a series of hostile acts towards Russia, according to Zakharova, including the seizure of state assets and private property, as well as alleged threats to damage civilian infrastructure.

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US and UK blew up Nord Stream – Russia’s top spy

Built to deliver Russian natural gas directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea, the Nord Stream pipelines were damaged by unknown perpetrators in a series of explosions in September 2022. The blasts left three out of four pipelines inoperable, causing what is believed to be the largest single methane leak ever.

Shortly after the sabotage, Germany, Denmark and Sweden – in whose economic zones the attack took place – launched separate investigations, although no results have been published. Earlier this year, Denmark and Sweden said they had closed their probes.

The Russian authorities have claimed the US had the most to gain from the sabotage, pointing to the opposition to the pipelines repeatedly voiced by the White House. Moscow has also accused the West of stonewalling the investigation. 

Last year, award-winning US journalist Seymour Hersh accused Washington of being behind the bombing, although the White House dismissed the allegations. Several Western media outlets later reported that Ukrainian citizens had been involved in the sabotage. Kiev has denied any connection to the attack.

As a result of the sabotage, gas supplies from Russia to Germany via Nord Stream 1 were halted. Nord Stream 2 had never been put into operation due to EU bureaucratic setbacks.

 

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