Sweden opts out of joint Nord Stream probe with Germany and Denmark

Sweden has decided against taking part in a joint investigation of the Nord Stream gas pipeline leakages with Denmark and Germany.

Sweden opts out of joint Nord Stream probe with Germany and Denmark
Pipes at the industrial plant of the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline in Lubmin, northeastern Germany, in August 2022. Sweden will no longer take part in a joint investigations of the Nord Stream pipeline links, according to reports in Germany on Friday. Photo: Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

Sweden will no longer take part in a joint investigation of the Nord Stream pipeline leaks, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Friday, citing German security sources.

The Nordic country does not want to share results of its own investigations with other countries, according to the report. The exact security concerns that have resulted in Sweden dropping out of the joint investigation are unclear.

German police have completed investigations of the suspected sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines and have submitted their conclusions to the joint investigation, a spokesperson for the German interior ministry said on Friday.

Earlier this week, Sweden said it would not allow Russia to join the ongoing probe of the pipeline leaks but added that Moscow could carry out its own inspections.

Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson’s statement followed earlier requests from Russia to be included in investigations into the alleged sabotage.

“In Sweden, preliminary investigations are confidential, and this is of course also true in this case,” Andersson told a press conference.

READ ALSO: Russia aggrieved at Germany, Denmark and Sweden over Nord Stream probe

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Denmark reduces energy infrastructure alert level

Denmark's electricity and gas grid operator on Thursday lowered its vigilance level, which had been raised considerably after sabotage hit the Nord Stream gas pipelines off the Danish coast in late September.

Denmark reduces energy infrastructure alert level

The vigilance level has now been reduced to “green”, its second lowest level, after it was already lowered one step, from “orange” to “yellow” at the end of October, Energinet said in a statement.

The move followed a request from the Danish Energy Agency to lower the vigilance level after “an analysis of the threat level”, the grid operator explained.

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.

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

Investigations by Danish and Swedish authorities have confirmed the leaks were due to sabotage and experts have said that only a state has the means to carry out such an operation.

But investigations have not identified who was responsible.

In early November, Moscow 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.

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.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre announced at the end of November that they had launched an initiative within NATO to better protect maritime infrastructures.