Sweden closed the area around the ruptured Nord Stream pipelines yesterday as its prosecutors called it a “crime scene” amid speculation of foul play.
“Suspected gross sabotage” prompted Swedish prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist and the Coast Guard to ban divers and marine vessels, including underwater craft, from being within 3.5 miles of the leaks.
On Monday, Sweden deployed a diving vessel in the Baltic Sea to investigate the incident affecting Europe’s main gas supply.
It is currently unclear who is responsible for the disturbance following reports of explosions in the area, although several allegations have been made.
Moscow suggested that the US is the culprit as it seeks to profit the most from higher prices and increased exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Washington has steadfastly denied any responsibility.
Similarly, Russia has rejected Western claims that it played a role, dismissing them as “predictably stupid and absurd”.
Four leaks have been discovered across both Nord Stream 1 and 2 since last week, spanning zones in Sweden and Denmark. Although none of the pipelines were operating at the time, residual gas leaked out, releasing up to 500,000 tonnes of methane.
A Danish investigation into the leaks is “now underway,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told Denmark’s parliament on Tuesday.
Russian energy company Gazprom shut down Nord Stream 1 indefinitely in September, throwing Europe’s gas supply into uncertainty and leaving its nations scrambling to diversify supply routes and sources.