Royal Navy to send warship to guard gas pipes after attack ​ ‘ordered by Putin

THE Royal Navy has sent a warship to help guard gas supplies after a suspected Russian attack on a pipelines.

The move comes after a series of explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines which are feared to have been ordered by Vladimir Putin.

A Royal Navy warship, believed to be HMS Somerset, is heading to the North Sea

A Royal Navy warship, believed to be HMS Somerset, is heading to the North SeaCredit: AFP or licensors

Twin 800-mile pipelines Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 can ferry 110billion cubic metres of gas annually from Russia through the Baltic into Western Europe.

Prices had already spiked by up to 12 per cent following the apparent sabotage, deepening fears the continent is facing a cold and bleak winter.

A Royal Navy frigate, reportedly HMS Somerset, has now been sent to work alongside the Norwegian navy to guard gas pipes running under the North Sea the Ministry of Defence said.

It comes after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace joined a crisis meeting of northern European nations on Monday to discuss co-ordinating security responses, including increased maritime presence.

“The group condemned the blatant attacks against civilian infrastructure,” the MoD said on Twitter.

“A Royal Navy frigate is in the North Sea, working with the Norwegian Navy to reassure those working near the gas pipelines.”

Prime Minister Liz Truss has said the series of explosions which caused major damage to the pipelines were “clearly an act of sabotage”.

Ahead of his meeting with counterparts in the joint expeditionary force, Mr Wallace warned that Russia makes “no secret” of its ability to target underwater infrastructure.

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference, the Defence Secretary said “the Nordic states and ourselves are deeply vulnerable to people doing things on our cables and our pipelines”.

The “mysterious” damage inflicted to the Nord Stream pipelines should be a reminder of how “fragile” the UK economy and infrastructure are in the face of “hybrid attacks,” Mr Wallace said.

He announced that the Government will acquire “two specialist ships”.

These would be able to patrol and protect the Britain’s “internet and energy” which “are highly reliant on pipelines and cables”.

The joint expeditionary force comprises the UK, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

At the meeting ministers discussed increasing shared intelligence assessments and cooperation to secure critical infrastructure, according to the MoD.

“In this period of heightened concern for all like-minded partner nations, it is right that we act with speed, agility and collective resolve to actively demonstrate our shared commitment to mutual security,” said Mr Wallace.

Two underwater explosions were detected last Monday alongside a mini earthquake.

German security services reportedly believe the damage has left the pipeline “forever unusable” – with three of four tubes so severely damaged they are now beyond repair.

The size of the holes in the pipes is sending large amounts of corrosive salt water flowing inside – further damaging them.

German government officials believe the complexity and scale of the attack could have only been carried out by a “state actor”.

Russia steadily reduced Nord Stream 1 flows this year before halting them altogether at the end of August, blaming technical difficulties caused sanctions.

But Putin has been previously accused of weaponising the energy crisis in a bid to pile pressure on the West.