Damage to crucial Nord Stream gas pipelines was the result of sabotage, a Swedish investigation has found. The Swedish Prosecution Authority announced they had found traces of explosives at the site. Together with Danish authorities, Sweden was investigating four holes in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines which link Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea. The pipe leaks on September 26 became a source of international attention as Western democracies accused Russia of intentional sabotage to tighten its grip on European gas supplies, while the Kremlin bizarrely pointed the finger at the UK for the attack.
Denmark last month said a preliminary investigation suggested the leaks were caused by powerful explosions – and Sweden’s new evidence confirms this. In a statement, the Swedish Prosecution Authority said: “Analysis that has now been carried out shows traces of explosives on several of the objects that were recovered.”
It added that the findings pointed to “gross sabotage” as the cause of the incident.
Investigators said the process was “extensive and complex”, and that work goes on “in order to be able to draw safe conclusions about the incident”.
The investigation will continue to establish those responsible for the sabotage, the authority added.
The prosecutor’s office declined to give further comment, including on which explosives were used to damage the pipelines. Previously, seismologists in Denmark and Sweden had registered tremors in the vicinity of the leaks, adding that these signals did not resemble those from earthquakes.
The explosions triggered four gas leaks at four locations: two in Denmark’s exclusive economic zone and two in Sweden’s exclusive economic zone. They spent gas from the pipelines spewing into the Baltic Sea.
Climate scientists described the shocking images of gas spewing to the surface of the Baltic Sea in late September as a “reckless release” of greenhouse gas emissions that, if deliberate, “amounts to an environmental crime.”
Meanwhile, Danish police said last month that “powerful explosions” caused the damage at the Nord Stream pipelines.
Swedish and Danish authorities have previously put the magnitude of these explosions at 2.3 and 2.1 on the Richter scale, respectively, which they said likely corresponded to an explosive load of “several hundred kilos.”
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Mr Peskov told journalists: “Our intelligence services have data indicating that British military specialists were directing and coordinating the attack. There is evidence that Britain is involved in sabotage, in a terrorist attack on vital energy infrastructure, not Russian, but international.”
He went on to decry the “unacceptable silence of European countries” over the event, and insisted that the West “carefully” analyse the information given by Moscow – although failed to publicly provide any evidence of his claims.
Rishi Sunak’s spokesman said London would not be drawn into “distractions which are part of the Russian playbook.”
On Monday, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told parliament that Russian allegations against the UK were “increasingly detached from reality.” He told parliament: “They are designed to distract the Russian people from the reality of Russian failures on the battlefield.”