State actor likely behind Nord Stream sabotage, Sweden says
Investigation of explosions at Nord Stream continues (Photo:EvgeniyShkolenko/Depositphotos)
While the circumstances surrounding the explosions at Nord Stream and Nord Stream-2 natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea are "difficult to investigate," the primary version now assumes at least some degree of “state actor” involvement, Swedish prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist told Reuters on April 6.
Ljungqvist, who leads the investigation, added it would be difficult to determine exactly who’s responsible for the apparent act of sabotage.
“We don't rule out anything, but that it is a state actor who is directly or at least indirectly behind this is of course our absolute main scenario, given all the circumstances,” said Ljungqvist.
The prosecutor confirmed that "gross sabotage" occurred in international waters. When the site was examined, traces of explosive substances were found on "several examined foreign objects."
“The incident has obviously become an open arena for different influence attempts,” Ljungqvist’s office said in a message on its website.
“These speculations do not have an impact on the ongoing investigation, which is grounded in facts and the information which has emerged from analyses, crime scene investigations and collaboration with authorities in Sweden and other countries.”
According to the message, Sweden intends to establish whether the sabotage threatens the interests and security of Sweden and whether Swedish territory was used to damage the pipelines.
“Our hope is to be able to confirm who has committed this crime, but it should be noted that it likely will be difficult given the circumstances”, Ljungqvist concluded.
Nord Stream and Nord Stream-2 (NS-1 and NS-2, respectively) were major supply routes of Russian natural gas to northern Europe – chiefly Germany and the Netherlands.
On Sept. 26, 2022, pressure in NS-2 pipes has rapidly declined, with the same happening in NS-1 a day later. Despite being out of operation at the time, both pipelines were filled with technical gas.
The incident that damaged the pipelines occurred some 70 kilometers away from Danish Island of Bornholm – in neutral waters, but within Denmark’s exclusive economic zone.
The Kremlin denies any responsibility for the incident. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin claimed that “Anglo-Saxons” were behind the “act of sabotage.”
The pipeline’s operator, Nord Stream AG, said it’s currently impossible to evaluate how long it could take to repair both NS-1 and NS-2.
German security services suggested both pipelines could remain inoperable indefinitely, according to a report by German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.
In March, citing unnamed U.S. officials, The New York Times reported that a "pro-Ukrainian group" could be behind the explosions – something Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy subsequently denied.
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