A Swedish agency on Thursday found that leaks from the two Russian Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea were likely caused by “serious sabotage” and evidence from the site was taken.
The Swedish Security Service confirmed that “detonations” were responsible for the extensive damage to the wholly Russian-owned pipelines last week. Seismologists in Denmark and Sweden have also said that the damage was not of natural origin, saying that blasts most likely were the cause.
“During the crime scene investigation … seizures have been made,” said the Security Service. “As part of the work,” it added in a statement, “the seizures will now be reviewed and analyzed.”
“The continued preliminary investigation must show whether someone can be served with suspicion and later prosecuted,” Sweden’s Security Service said in a statement, adding the blasts are a “very serious” development.
Now that the initial probe is completed, a blockade around the pipelines off Sweden will be lifted, Swedish officials also said Thursday.
The governments of Denmark and Sweden previously said they suspected that several hundred pounds of explosives were involved in carrying out a deliberate act of sabotage. The leaks from Nord Stream 1 and 2 discharged huge amounts of methane into the air.
Danish authorities said the two methane leaks they were monitoring in international waters stopped over the weekend. One of the leaks off Sweden also appeared to have ended.
Officials in the European Union have publicly suspected sabotage, namely as the incident comes in the midst of an energy standoff between the EU, Germany, and Moscow. But Russian authorities have said that such accusations are “predictably stupid,” noting that the pipelines are Russian-owned infrastructure and that the natural gas inside them is also Russian in origin.
And some have suggested that the United States or one of its allies was behind the sabotage attack, which Pentagon and White House officials have categorically denied.
Earlier this week, a top economist with Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs, publicly speculated that the United States would gain the most from the attack because it would then be able to sell its natural gas to Europe by cutting out Russia.
Sachs also pointed to public statements made by President Joe Biden about the pipeline and last week’s comment from Secretary of State Antony Blinken that it’s now a “tremendous opportunity” for the EU to reduce dependency on Russian gas.
In a statement on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote that EU countries were betrayed by the United States.
The spokeswoman noted that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak recently said Russia was ready to supply gas through an undamaged branch of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
“Will anyone now dare claim after that our country is behind this act of sabotage? I agree it’s hard to face the truth. But someday the EU countries will have to face up to the fact they were betrayed by their allies,” Zakharova wrote.
US Not Involved in ‘Sabotage’
When questioned during a Fox News interview on Tuesday evening, White House and Pentagon spokesman John Kirby flatly denied Washington had anything to do with the incident. Those allegations, he asserted, are Russian propaganda.
“That’s just Russian propaganda and disinformation,” Kirby said. “Now, we know it was an act of sabotage, but there’s an investigation going on right now. I don’t think we’re going to get into credentialing that in terms of who was responsible. We’re going to let the investigators take a look at that. But, clearly, this was an act of sabotage.”
No nation-state or group has claimed responsibility for the blasts. The United States also hasn’t accused any country of carrying out a sabotage attack.
“Again, I can’t speak to specific accountability for this act of sabotage,” Kirby said. “I can just assure you the United States had nothing to do with it, of course. That’s just Russian propaganda.”
But later in the interview, Kirby implied that Russia could be behind it.
“Just look at what Russia has done in the past since the last seven months of this war and when it began and that is to weaponize energy,” Kirby told Fox News.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times