A Swedish Security Service investigation has found traces of explosives at a location where mysterious leaks appeared in pipelines from Russia to Europe in September
18 November 2022
Investigators have discovered traces of explosives and “foreign items” at the point where the Nord Stream gas pipelines sprang dramatic leaks in September. The Swedish Security Service said that its investigation “shows that the pipelines have been subject to gross sabotage”.
Mats Ljungqvist, the prosecutor who is leading the investigation, told the Guardian: “Analysis that has now been carried out shows traces of explosives on several of the objects that were recovered.”
Ljunqvist said that the preliminary investigation was “complex and comprehensive” and will in time show whether anyone can be charged. Sweden and Denmark are carrying out separate investigations as two of the leaks occurred in Swedish waters and two in Danish.
Two key gas pipelines designed to bring Russian gas to Europe, Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, each of which is actually a pair of pipes, developed leaks within hours of each other, prompting immediate speculation about sabotage.
The Nord Stream pipes, which run under the Baltic Sea, had at times been a focal point of diplomatic tensions around Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Several European politicians blamed sabotage without naming a suspect. Russia has denied any involvement.
Seismologists reported large explosions at the time the leaks began, adding to speculation about sabotage. Theories put forward about the method have included explosives planted outside the pipes by submarines or divers, or inside by robotic inspection vehicles that travel through the pipes.
Huge volumes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, leaked from the Nord Stream pipelines, with one estimate at the time claiming it was equivalent to the annual methane emissions from a city as big as Paris.
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