Nord Stream pipeline explosions caused by sabotage, says Sweden


The submarine explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines were caused by sabotage, Swedish prosecutors confirmed on Friday.

“Foreign objects” with traces of explosives have been found on the two pipelines, which lie under the Baltic Sea.

Moscow is suspected of being responsible for the explosions at Nord Stream 1 and 2, which it denies. Vladimir Putin has accused both the UK and the US of orchestrating the explosions.

“The analyzes carried out have found traces of explosives on various foreign objects,” said prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist, who is leading the investigation.

“The preliminary investigation is very complex and comprehensive. The ongoing preliminary investigation should determine whether someone can be served on suspicion of a crime,” he added.

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The four explosions, equivalent to 100 kg of dynamite, caused dangerous gas leaks in September, forcing a five-mile shipping exclusion zone to be established.

The two Nord Stream pipelines were built to carry gas from Russia to Germany, but since the West imposed sanctions on Moscow over the war in Ukraine, Putin has cut off supplies to Europe.

Since the war in Ukraine, European countries have taken measures to reduce their dependence on Russian gas.

The sabotage took place on the same day as the inauguration of a new Baltic Sea pipeline from Norway to Poland, designed as an alternative to Russian supplies and close to the Nord Stream system.

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It led Norway and other European countries to step up security around their critical energy infrastructure.

In the weeks and months before the explosions, Russian Navy support vessels, a warship, and submarines were spotted near the Nord Stream pipelines.

Swedish, Danish and German authorities are investigating what the Swedes called the “gross sabotage” on Friday. The explosions took place in Swedish and Danish territorial waters.

Sweden and Denmark have already issued a joint report to the UN Security Council.

“The strength of the explosions was measured at 2.3 and 2.1 respectively on the Richter scale, probably corresponding to an explosive charge of several hundred kilograms,” they said.

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Neither pipeline was pumping gas to Europe at the time of the explosions, but both contained pressurized gas.

Flows from Nord Stream 1 to Germany were halted in August, ostensibly for maintenance, and have not resumed – something Moscow blames on equipment failure and sanctions.

The new Nord Stream 2 pipeline would drastically increase Germany’s dependence on Russian gas. The €9.5 billion project was completed and awaited final approval from Berlin, which was denied when Putin launched his illegal invasion of Ukraine in February.

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