SHARE
COPY LINK

NORD STREAM

Sweden’s Nord Stream site inspection ‘strengthened sabotage suspicions’

An inspection of two of the leaks at the Nord Stream pipelines linking Russia to Europe has reinforced suspicions that they were acts of sabotage, Swedish authorities say.

Sweden's Nord Stream site inspection 'strengthened sabotage suspicions'
The Nord Stream gas leak on September 29th. Photo: Danish Armed Forces

“We can conclude that there have been detonations at Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the Swedish exclusive economic zone that has led to extensive damage to the gas pipelines,” public prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said in a statement, adding that the “crime scene investigation had strengthened the suspicions of aggravated sabotage.”

Sweden’s Säpo security police are complete with their investigation of the gas leaks at the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic sea, with the assistance of the Coastguard, the Swedish Armed Forces and the police.

“After an overall assessment, we can state that there have been detonations at Nord Stream 1 and 2,” Säpo communications head Nina Odermalm-Schei told TT newswire.

“I can confirm that Säpo have carried out a crime scene investigation under the direction of prosecutors,” she said.

Suspicions of aggravated sabotage have been strengthened following the investigation, according to Säpo.

“We have also made certain finds, we are unfortunately not able to comment on what they consist of,” she added. “Now we will continue the preliminary investigation, analyse the evidence and further clarify the incident.”

Cordons in the area have now been lifted following a decision by prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist.

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson was cautious about commenting on the information about strengthened suspicions of sabotage.

“There is pre-trial secrecy in Sweden, but it’s good that authorities are working intensively in cooperation with Denmark and Germany,” Andersson said on her way in to a European summit in Prague.

When asked what support she expected from the summit, Andersson stated that Sweden had been well-supported by its allies in the EU and in Nato.

“We have received very good support in Sweden and from other countries,” she said, “Both with offers of technical assistance, but also very clear statements from EU leaders and from Nato, and that is important in many respects.”

“This is about much more than Sweden and Denmark. This is about the European energy supply.”

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

NORD STREAM

Swedish prosecutor confirms Nord Stream pipeline sabotage

Swedish officials confirmed Friday that the September blasts which destroyed sections of the Nord Stream pipelines carrying gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea were acts of sabotage.

Swedish prosecutor confirms Nord Stream pipeline sabotage

“The analyses conducted found traces of explosives on several foreign objects” found at the sites of the blasts, prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist, who is leading the preliminary investigation, said in a statement.

Ljungqvist added that technical analyses were continuing in order to “draw more reliable conclusions regarding the incident.”

Sweden’s Prosecution Authority said that the “continued investigation will show if anyone can be formally suspected of a crime.”

The four underwater explosions at the Nord Stream gas pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea in September this year were caused by a force corresponding to hundreds of kilograms of explosives, a Danish-Swedish report has previously concluded.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines 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.

Four large gas leaks were discovered on Nord Stream’s two pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm at the end of September, with seismic institutes recording two underwater explosions just prior.

Investigators had already said preliminary inspections had reinforced suspicions of sabotage.

Russia and Western countries, particularly the United States, have traded bitter barbs over who is responsible for the blasts.

“The analyses conducted found traces of explosives on several foreign objects” at the sites of the blasts, prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist, who is leading the preliminary investigation, said in a statement on Friday.

Ljungqvist added technical analyses were continuing in order to “draw more reliable conclusions regarding the incident”.

Sweden’s prosecution authority said the “continued investigation will show if anyone can be formally suspected of a crime”.

The Swedish Security Service (SÄPO) — which is conducting the investigation under the prosecutors’ leadership — confirmed the findings in a separate statement but both authorities declined to comment further.

The closely watched investigation has also been supported by Sweden’s coast guard, the Swedish armed forces and the police.

Trading blame

While the leaks were in international waters, two of them were in the Danish exclusive economic zone and two in Sweden’s.

At the end of October, Nord Stream sent a Russian-flagged civilian vessel to inspect the damage in the Swedish zone.

The same week the prosecution authority announced it was conducting a second probe of the damage to complement the first done in early October.

In early November, the operator said roughly 250 metres (820 feet) of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline had been destroyed and that craters with a depth of three to five metres had been found on the seabed.

Although the pipelines were not in operation when the leaks occurred, they both still contained gas which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.

Moscow has accused Western countries of being behind the explosions of the pipelines, but has not provided any firm proof.

In early November, the Kremlin accused Britain of “directing and coordinating” the explosions.

The accusation was rejected as “distractions which are part of the Russian playbook” by a spokesman for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Ukraine and some Western countries have meanwhile pointed the finger at Russia.

In mid-October, Russia said it was ready to resume deliveries of gas through the parts of the pipeline not affected by the leaks, with President Vladimir Putin saying “the ball was in the EU’s court”.

SHOW COMMENTS