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Sweden and Denmark say Nord Stream blasts equal to ‘several hundred kilos of TNT’

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AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Sweden and Denmark say Nord Stream blasts equal to ‘several hundred kilos of TNT’
One of the Nord Stream leak sites photographed by the Swedish coast guard. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

The four underwater explosions at the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea were caused by a force corresponding to hundreds of kilograms of explosives, a Danish-Swedish report said Friday, as Russian president Vladimir Putin accused the West of being behind the blasts.

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"The magnitude of the explosions was measured at 2.3 and 2.1 on the Richter Scale, respectively, probably corresponding to an explosive load of several hundred kilos," the two countries said in a joint report to the UN Security Council.

Following a request from Russia, the Security Council is due to hold an emergency meeting on the leaks later on Friday.

"All available information indicates that those explosions are the result of a deliberate act," the countries said.

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The source of the explosions has remained a mystery, however, with both Washington and Moscow denying responsibility.

The Scandinavian countries also said that "the possible impact on maritime life in the Baltic Sea is of concern, and the climate effect would likely be very substantial".

READ ALSO: Swedish coastguard says one of the Nord Stream leaks ‘diminished’

All the leaks, which were discovered on Monday, are in the Baltic Sea off the Danish island of Bornholm.

Two of the leaks are located in the Swedish exclusive economic zone, and the two others in the Danish one.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday accused the West of organising the blasts.

"Sanctions are not enough for the West, they have switched to sabotage. Unbelievable, but it is a fact!" Putin said during a televised speech at a Kremlin ceremony to annex four Moscow-occupied regions of Ukraine.

"By organising explosions on the Nord Stream international gas pipelines that run along the bottom of the Baltic Sea they actually started destroying European energy infrastructure," Putin said.

"It is clear to everyone who benefits from this," Putin added, without providing further details.

Russia said on Wednesday that Washington should answer if it was behind the leaks — an assertion rejected by the United States as “ridiculous”.

NATO has declared the damage “the result of deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage” and said it supports investigations to determine the origin of the damage.

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While the pipelines are not currently in operation, they both still contained gas.

On Thursday, the pipelines operator said it had so far been unable to assess the damage but said it would do so "as soon as it receives necessary official permits".

It said access could be allowed "only after the pressure in the gas pipeline has stabilised and the gas leakage has stopped".

Danish authorities have said the leaks will continue until the gas in the pipelines is exhausted, which is expected to occur on Sunday.

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