Swedish investigative team finds ‘detonations’ damaged Nord Stream pipeline
An investigative team examining multiple explosions that rocked the Nord Stream pipeline network found Thursday that “detonations” damaged the lines as suspicions of sabotage remain high.
In what could have been the largest methane leak in history, four sites along the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipeline have been examined by Danish and Swedish authorities after first being discovered last week in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Denmark.
“There have been detonations near Nord Stream 1 and 2, within the Swedish economic zone, resulting in extensive damage to the gas pipelines,” Swedish security police said in a statement reported by Reuters.
The area is no longer being cordoned off and the leaks have stopped, but authorities have said the investigation remains ongoing as some material needs additional analysis.
“The continued investigation will show whether anyone can be suspected of, and later prosecuted for, this crime,” the statement continued.
Both Moscow and Western nations have pointed fingers at one another over what some have described as intentional “sabotage.”
Nations like the U.K. and the Netherlands have responded to the leaks by increasing their maritime security presence in the North Sea “to reassure those working near the gas pipelines,” the U.K. Ministry of Defense said Monday.
NATO — which Sweden is in the midst of becoming a member of — over the weekend accused Russia of targeting the pipelines in “deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage.”
Russia, who has accused the U.S. of using underwater “robots” to target the pipelines, has already said it will not acknowledge the results of any investigation it is not directly involved in.
“We were informed via diplomatic channels that as of now, there are no plans to ask the Russian side to join investigations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday, according to Reuters.
Peskov said the Kremlin did not believe an investigation that did not involve Russia could be objective.
But Sweden has already rejected the suggestion that Moscow should have a part to play in its probe and said “it wasn’t up for discussion.”
“We don’t usually involve foreign powers in our criminal investigations,” Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist reportedly said during a Tuesday briefing. “That’s the basic approach. It is not up for discussion.”