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Germany opens probe of likely 'blasts' against Nord Stream

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Germany opens probe of likely 'blasts' against Nord Stream
This photo provided by the Danish Defence Command shows the Nord Stream 2 gas leak near Bornholm from the air. Following the damage to the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea, authorities in Germany and Denmark continue to search for the cause. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Danish Defence Command | -

German federal prosecutors said Monday they had joined European partners in formally opening a probe into likely "detonations" leading to leaks in the undersea Nord Stream gas pipelines from Russia.

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A spokesman for the federal prosecutor's office said in an email to AFP that it was investigating "against persons unknown" on suspicion of "intentionally causing an explosive blast" and "sabotage" linked to the leaks.

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Germany's federal prosecutor's office typically only opens investigations into cases involving national security such as terror attacks.

READ ALSO: What the Nord Stream pipeline leaks mean for people in Germany

It said that its involvement in the case was justified by the fact that a "violent attack on the energy supply could impact the external and internal security" of the country.   

The probe comes in addition to cases opened by German federal police and the federal bureau of investigations. German prosecutors said there was "sufficient evidence" that Nord Stream 1 and 2 were "intentionally damaged with at least two detonations".

They said their probe was aimed primarily at "identifying the perpetrator or perpetrators as well as the possible motive". Swedish authorities said on Thursday that an inspection of two of the leaks reinforced suspicions that they were acts of sabotage, with "detonations" that led to "extensive damage to the gas pipelines".

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.

READ ALSO: Nord Stream 2 pipeline has stopped leaking gas under Baltic Sea: spokesman

While the pipelines are not currently in operation, they both still contained gas before they fell victim to apparent sabotage.

Both Moscow and Washington have denied responsibility for the leaks, which were discovered in late September. Germany, Sweden and Denmark formed a joint investigation unit to probe the apparent "sabotage".

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cflynn2388 2022/10/11 10:28
Breaking news: intact Russian passports have been found at the bottom of the sea right next to the leak sites.

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