“The explosions … were the result of “gross sabotage,” Swedish prosecutors confirmed.”
Almost two months after the Russian Nord Stream pipelines blew up in the Baltic Sea, the Swedish prosecutors have found traces of explosives at the underwater site and declared that the incident was an act of “gross sabotage.”
The explosions that ripped apart the pipelines at four places had a force of almost “500 kilograms of TNT” and measured 2.3 on the seismic Richter scale — comparable to “a powerful bomb from the second world war,” the German and British media outlets reported.
Days after the blasts, leading German news weekly Der Spiegel has claimed that intelligence officials in Berlin assess that the blasts were caused by “highly effective explosive devices” and may have been ordered by “state actors.”
The French TV channel Euronews reported the latest Swedish findings:
The explosions that caused significant damage to the Nord Stream pipelines near the Danish island of Bornholm in late September were the result of “gross sabotage,” Swedish prosecutors confirmed.
“Analyses that have now been carried out show traces of explosives on several of the foreign objects that were found,” public prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist, who is in charge of the ongoing preliminary investigation into the explosions, said in a statement Friday.
There are no indications of who is to blame for the incident at this time, and the investigation is ongoing.
“The preliminary investigation is very complex and extensive. The continued preliminary investigation must show whether anyone can be served with suspicion of a crime,” the statement said.
Swedish investigators will continue to cooperate with domestic authorities and other countries. The prosecutor’s office has asked for patience.
BREAKING: Sweden confirms Nord Stream 2 sabotage; explosives remains found on the damaged pipeline. pic.twitter.com/MtEG0cMDoQ
— DW News (@dwnews) November 18, 2022
German, the biggest stakeholder in the Nord Stream project besides Russia, has refused to speculate on who may have carried out the underwater blasts. “We have no information on possible initiators of this act of sabotage,” a spokesman for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reaffirmed on Friday.
Russia, which has pointed fingers at the U.S. and the UK for the incident, declared that the Swedish findings vindicate its claims.
The Associated Press on Friday reported the Russian reaction:
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday it was “very important to find those who are behind the explosion.”
Sweden’s findings of “a sabotage act or a terrorist act — you can call it whatever you like” confirm “the information that the Russian side has had,” Peskov said. Moscow needs to wait for a full damage assessment to decide whether to repair the pipelines, he said.
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, a joint German-Russia project, reportedly cost billions to construct. The Nord Stream 2 alone took over 11 billion euros to build, media reports confirm. The Russian pipelines, now flooded with highly-corrosive seawater, may never be operational again, official German sources believe.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, Germany relied on the national gas to meet close to one-third of its total energy needs. The Russian supplies made up to 55 percent of country’s total gas imports.
The disruption of the Russian gas supply though its key pipelines has thrown European, and particularly the German economy, in a tailspin. “The German government and leading economists say that Germany is heading toward a recession,” the German public broadcaster DW News reported earlier this month.
Germany, much like the rest of continental Europe, has imposed energy rationing and is gearing up for blackouts and long power-cuts ahead of Christmas. The Berlin Police have been preparing for a “state of emergency” in the wake of a spiraling energy crisis, the German newspaper Die Berliner Zeitung reported mid-September.DONATE
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