Copenhagen, Nov 18 (EFE).- Traces of explosives have been detected at damaged sections of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines linking Russia with Germany via the Baltic Sea, Swedish investigators said Friday.
The authorities added that the findings indicated that the leaks in the underwater pipeline strands were caused by acts of “gross sabotage.”
“In the crime scene investigations carried out on site in the Baltic Sea, the extensive damage to the gas pipelines resulting from detonations has been thoroughly documented (…) Explosive residue was identified on a number of the seized and analyzed foreign items,” the Swedish Prosecution Authority informed in a statement.
The prosecutor in charge, Mats Ljungqvist, said: “The investigation is extensive and complex and will eventually show whether anyone can be suspected of, and later prosecuted for this.”
A total of four leaks were detected in four strands of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which were not actively pumping gas at the time of the alleged sabotage in late September, although they were pressurized-
Danish authorities are also investigating the case, while the operating company of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, controlled by Russian corporation Gazprom, sent a vessel to examine the damage at the end of October.
The three main leaks were stopped at the beginning of October, after reaching a stable pipeline pressure, but the smallest one remained active for a few more days.
Following the finding of the leaks, power and gas industries in Denmark and Sweden raised an alarm over their installations — including a military presence — as did Norway, even though it has no Baltic coastline.
The European Union, the United States and Russia claim the leaks were a result of sabotage, although the West and Moscow point the blame in opposite directions.
The Kremlin has claimed that British forces were behind the damages, which London slammed as an attempt to distract from its “disastrous handling” of the invasion of Ukraine.EFE