Poland to boost military protection of Baltic energy infrastructure
A Polish MiG-29 flies over Polish Navy ships and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78), not pictured, during a cooperative exercise, March 14, 2023. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sawyer Connally via U.S. Defense Visual Information Distribution Service)
WARSAW (Reuters) - The Polish government has approved draft legislation that would allow the military to sink an enemy ship targeting a key gas pipeline from Norway via the Baltic Sea following NATO's warning that Russia might sabotage undersea energy infrastructure.
In "exceptional situations", and when other options had been exhausted, the military would be allowed to foil a terrorist attack by sinking an enemy ship or airship, the government said on Thursday.
A key ally of Ukraine and a hub for deliveries of weapons to Kyiv, Poland says it has regularly found itself the target of Russian espionage. The country has been cut off from Russian gas supplies a year ago and relies on LNG imports and pipeline supplies from Norway.
Russia may sabotage undersea cables to punish Western nations for supporting Ukraine, NATO's intelligence chief warned on Wednesday.
The government said a permanent base for coast guard units would be established in Swinoujscie port, where a terminal for importing liquefied natural gas is located.
The draft legislation must be approved by the parliament to become law.
Last month, Warsaw established a temporary 200 meters exclusion zone around the terminal last month.
In October, days after blasts on the Nord Stream pipelines carrying Russian gas across the Baltic Sea, Poland raised the security level on energy infrastructure outside its borders.
The Baltic Pipe crosses Nord Stream pipelines near Bornholm island in the Baltic Sea. A 600 megawatt (MW) Sweden-Poland undersea cable also intersects with the damaged Nord Stream link in the area.
(Reporting by Marek Strzelecki; Editing by Christina Fincher)