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2022 Nord Stream Pipeline Leaks refer to a series of explosions and subsequent gas leaks that affected the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipelines on September 26th, 2022. The pipelines were built for transporting natural gas from Russia to Germany and have been a controversial element of Russian-EU relations following the start of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. The leaks became a subject of viral discussions and memes online following the event in late September 2022, as well as the topic of widespread conspiracy theories.
On September 26th, 2022, an explosion took place at Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea. Seventeen hours later, another explosion took place at Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. Neither of the pipelines, built for the transportation of natural gas from Russia to German, was in use at the moment of the explosion, although both contained gas. The explosions resulted in three separate leaks southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm.
Following an initial report of pressure loss in Nord Stream 2, a gas leak from the pipeline was found by a Danish interceptor response unit on September 27th (photographs shown below).
The reports of the leaks on September 27th, 2022, were followed by reactions from the EU, Russia and other countries, with some political leaders making accusations of sabotage against other nations, particularly centered around the U.S. and Russia. NATO described the incidents as "deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage."
Russian President Vladimir Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov dismissed accusations of sabotage against Russia as "predictable, stupid and absurd," adding that the incidents looked like an act of possibly state-sponsored terrorism.
On September 27th, Polish MP Radek Sikorski tweeted a photograph of the gas leak, writing, "Thank you, USA." The tweet gained over 13,400 retweets and 44,200 likes and has since been deleted (shown below).
According to various estimates, repairs of the pipelines can take between three months to possibly "years."
In the days following the reports, the gas leaks became a viral subject of discussions and debate online, particularly on Twitter, 4chan and other sites, as users guessed at the perpetrators behind the sabotage and their possible motives, often jokingly. For example, on September 27th, 2022, an anonymous 4chan user started a /pol/ thread by accusing the U.S. of the explosions that gained over 360 replies in two days (shown below, left). Later on September 27th, Twitter user @Sandbagger_01 posted a joke referencing the 2018 Salisbury Poisoning that gained over 3,000 retweets and 28,400 likes in two days (shown below, right).
The leaks also inspired humorous photoshops and other memes. For example, on September 27th, a 4chan user started a /pol/ thread for humorous edits of the gas leak photograph that gained over 310 replies in two days (examples shown below).
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