Italy to Send Ships, Divers to Ensure Security of Mediterranean Pipelines

The Italian Defense Ministry will take additional measures to ensure security of its pipelines in the Mediterranean Sea following the explosions at Nord Stream pipelines, Chief of the Defense Staff of the Italian forces Cavo Dragone said on Thursday.

"We have decided to immediately strengthen measures to protect strategic networks in the national interests, starting with three pipelines passing through the Strait of Sicily," Dragone said in an interview with la Repubblica newspaper.

The group of Italy's naval force deployed in the strait was doubled on Wednesday, he said.Two ships with drones will also be dispatched to protect the areas where pipelines supplying energy to Italy are located, with divers supporting the efforts by checking the situation on the seabed, Dragone added.

The measures were taken by the Italian military as a reaction to the explosions at Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea earlier in the week.

On Monday, Nord Stream AG pipeline operator told Sputnik that a dispatcher had registered a rapid gas pressure drop on Line A of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The incident occurred in Danish waters near the island of Bornholm. Later in the day, the operator said that a pressure drop had been registered on both strings of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The Swedish and Danish authorities said they had detected undersea explosions, with the consensus being that the incident was a result of sabotage.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected suggestions that Russia had blown up the pipelines as "absurd" and urged the EU to negotiate a solution with Moscow. The Russian prosecution declared the explosions an act of international terrorism.

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