Nord Stream leaks confirmed as sabotage, Sweden says

  • Sweden says the damage to the Nord Stream pipeline is a serious act of vandalism
  • During the investigation, traces of explosives were found.
  • The investigation will continue to identify any suspects.

STOCKHOLM, Nov 18 (Reuters) – Investigators have found explosives at the site of the damaged Nord Stream gas pipeline, confirming the explosion, a Swedish prosecutor said on Friday.

Swedish and Danish authorities are investigating four holes in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines that run across the Baltic Sea to Russia and Germany and have become a flashpoint in the Ukraine crisis as Europe is short on gas supplies.

Denmark said last month in a preliminary investigation that the leak was caused by a powerful explosion.

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“The analysis carried out now shows traces of explosives in many of the recovered objects,” the Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a statement, adding that the findings characterized the incident as a total act of vandalism.

He said the ongoing investigation will determine whether those responsible can be identified.

Prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said cooperation with the Swedish authorities was excellent.

The prosecutor’s office declined to comment further, including why explosives are believed to have been used to damage the pipelines.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Russia will wait until a full assessment of the damage is done and a decision on repairs is made.

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“The fact that data is starting to come in to confirm a subversive act or a terrorist act confirms once again the information that Russia has,” Peskov told reporters in a daily telephone call.

“It’s very important not to stop, it’s very important to find the person behind this explosion.”

Gazprom ( GAZP.MM ) and Nord Stream 1 and 2 did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Seismologists in Denmark and Sweden have previously said they have seen earthquakes in the vicinity of the leaks and that the signals do not resemble earthquakes.

Danish police declined to comment on the Swedish findings.

On Sept. 26, a pipeline ruptured on the seabed, spewing gas into the ocean and bubbling to the surface in the week that followed, sparking fears of public danger and environmental damage.

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A section measuring at least 50 meters (164 feet) is missing from Nord Stream 1, Swedish daily Expressen reported on October 18 after taking the first public images of the wreckage.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said last month that the British navy’s bombing of the pipelines was wrong and intended to distract from the Russian military’s failure in Ukraine.

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Johan Ahlander in Stockholm; Terje Solsvik in Oslo and Nikolaj Skydsgaard in Copenhagen; Edited by Elaine Hardcastle

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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