HomeWorldSweden says Nord Stream pipeline sabotaged, finds traces of explosives

Sweden says Nord Stream pipeline sabotaged, finds traces of explosives

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BRUSSELS — The mysterious explosions in September that hit the Nord Stream gas pipelines built to carry Russian natural gas to Europe were caused by “gross sabotage” and investigators found traces of explosives, Swedish authorities said on Friday.

In a pronunciation, prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said the probe conducted at the Baltic Sea site revealed several foreign objects. Also the Swedish security service said Friday that “explosive residue was found on some of the seized and analyzed foreign items”.

But the statements failed to address the main question of the months-old mystery of the blasts that rocked the continent: how the explosives were placed on the underwater pipelines and who might be responsible.

European leaders blame Russian ‘sabotage’ after Nord Stream explosions

The prosecutor’s office said the ongoing investigation will determine whether any suspects will be identified, while the security service said “the advanced analysis work is still ongoing – the aim is to draw more definitive conclusions.”

The explosions in late September shook a major pipeline carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe at a time when Moscow is using energy as leverage in retaliation for Western sanctions over the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

European officials were quick to call the incident “sabotage” and some have blamed Russia, although multiple investigations are underway, with Danish and German authorities also collecting evidence.

“These are deliberate actions, not an accident,” said Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told reporters September 27 shortly after the explosions. “The situation is as serious as it gets.”

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Russia denied responsibility. The Kremlin is “extremely concerned,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the same day.

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Although the explosions initially raised fears of shortages, the impact on European supply was limited, especially as the European Union had already started phasing out Russian energy.

The energy crisis forced European countries to build up reserves and look for alternative sources of supply for the winter, when Russia cut power and energy prices rose. Since the pipeline explosions, EU countries have also rushed to tighten security around key infrastructure and boost naval operations.

Damage from the explosions affected part of Nord Stream 1, a major route for Russian natural gas to Germany, Poland and other European countries.

Russia the gas flow stopped via Nord Stream 1 earlier this year, citing technical difficulties as European leaders accused Moscow of “blackmailing” countries that have sent weapons to Ukraine to fend off Russian troops.

Another leak was part of the newer Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which Germany froze earlier in the conflict shortly before the pipeline was due to go online.

Francis reported from London. Helier Cheung contributed to this report.

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