Nord Stream investigation reveals evidence of explosions, Swedish police say

  • Swedish security service says ‘gross sabotage’ indicated
  • Investigation shows detonations on Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines
  • Russia says it was not asked to participate in investigation

HELSINKI/STOCKHOLM, Oct 6 (Reuters) – A crime scene investigation of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines linking Russia with Europe found evidence of explosions, bolstering suspicions of “gross sabotage”, a source said. Thursday the Swedish security service.

Authorities in Sweden and Denmark have been investigating four leaks after pipelines, which connect Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea and have become a hotspot in the Ukraine crisis, were damaged early last week.

Europe, which relied on Russia for around 40% of its gas, is facing an energy crisis following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which cut off fuel supplies in an ongoing stalemate.

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He investigates the causes of the leaks as Moscow seeks to shift blame to the West, suggesting the United States had everything to gain. Washington has denied any involvement.

“After completing the crime scene investigation, the Swedish security service can conclude that there were detonations at Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the Swedish economic zone,” he said.

The security service added that the pipelines had been badly damaged and that it had recovered material from the site which would now be analysed. The evidence “reinforced suspicions of gross sabotage”, he added.

The crime scene investigation by the Swedish Coast Guard and Navy is believed to have involved unmanned vehicles, Swedish Navy spokesman Jimmie Adamsson said.

“The pipes are at a depth of 70 to 80 meters and at those depths you use unmanned underwater vehicles,” he added.

Russia said it was informed through diplomatic channels that it was unable to join the investigation.

“At the moment there are no plans to ask the Russian side to join the investigations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that Moscow had replied that it would not. was not possible to conduct an objective investigation without his participation.

Operators of pipelines owned by Russia and European partners said this week they were unable to inspect the damaged sections because authorities in Denmark and Sweden cordoned off the area on Monday.

Sweden’s public prosecutor’s office said on Thursday that the area, where gas spilled into the sea for nearly a week, was no longer cordoned off.

It was not possible to let other people participate in a Swedish criminal investigation, Sweden’s justice minister said in response to the Kremlin on Wednesday.

Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told Reuters on Thursday that a police-led task force between Denmark, Sweden and Germany was in charge.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said Thursday that Moscow would insist on a “thorough and open investigation” including Russian officials and Gazprom (GAZP.MM).

“Not allowing the (pipeline) owner to attend the investigation means there is something to hide,” Zakharova said.

The Swedish government has not received any requests from Gazprom or Nord Stream to investigate the damage themselves, a spokesman for the enterprise minister said.

STORAGE ITALY ALMOST FULL

As European countries try to reassure consumers that they will have enough electricity as the cold months approach, the chief executive of energy group Eni (ENI.MI) said on Thursday that Italy will have its almost full gas storage before winter.

Nevertheless, the supply situation is tight and Italy must be alert to uncertainties that could arise in the event of a colder winter or unexpected problems with energy infrastructure, said Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi.

Last year, Italy bought 40% of its gas imports from Moscow, and Eni was the country’s biggest importer of Russian gas.

The head of Germany’s Federal Network Agency, which would be in charge of gas rationing in the event of a supply emergency, repeated his warning a week ago that consumption was too high.

“We will struggle to avoid a gas crisis this winter without at least 20% savings in households, businesses and industry,” said Klaus Mueller of the Bundesnetzagentur.

“The situation can become very serious if we do not significantly reduce our gas consumption,” he told Reuters.

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Reporting by Reuters and Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen; Written by Alexander Smith; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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