Sweden finds explosive traces calling Nord Stream “gross sabotage”
Swedish authorities released statements confirming that the explosions at the Nord Stream pipeline were “gross sabotage”. The security police and the prosecutor’s office released separate statements, both announcing that they had found evidence of sabotage, confirming earlier reports that the explosion and damage to the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany was neither accidental nor the result of a natural failure.
“In the crime scene investigations carried out on site in the Baltic Sea, the extensive damage to the gas lines as a result of detonations has been carefully documented. Several seizures have been made, including foreign objects, the Security Police said in a statement released this morning.
Both the Security Police and the prosecutor referred to traces of explosives without giving any details about the specific explosive found. Prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist says that “the incident is gross sabotage”, revealed, “The analyzes that have now been carried out show traces of explosives on several of the foreign objects that were found. The advanced analysis work continues in order to be able to draw safer conclusions about the incident.”
The security police also reported that explosive residue was identified on a number of the seized items and analyzed the foreign objects as part of the crime scene investigations. They reported that the advanced analysis work is still ongoing, with the aim of drawing more definitive conclusions about the Nord Stream incidents.
The investigation is conducted by the Security Police and led by the National Security Unit’s prosecutor Ljungqvist. Sweden noted that it receives help from several authorities including, among others, the Coast Guard, the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Police Agency. It is also coordinating with Danish authorities and there have been reports that the United States offered underwater acoustic analysis services for audio recordings from around the time of the explosion, according to CNN.
“The investigation is extensive and complex and will eventually show whether anyone can be suspected and later charged for this,” according to the security service’s statement. The prosecutor also confirmed that the preliminary investigation continues and “must show if anyone can be suspected of a crime.”
Russia, for its part, responded to the latest messages from Sweden and said that it once again points to terrorist activity. Reuters reports that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the latest information continues “in favor of confirming a subversive act or a terrorist act.” The Russians have alternately blamed the West and specifically Britain, something vehemently denied by the British, or alternately subversives or terrorists. Asked what Russia would do, Peskov said Russia will wait until a full damage assessment of the Nord Stream gas pipelines is done before deciding whether any repairs should be made.
After the Nord Stream incident, efforts were made across Europe, including at Norwegian facilities, to further strengthen security. The European Commission also announced emergency measures, including joint purchases of gas by EU member states.