Sweden’s security service (SAPO) said on Wednesday it will investigate unexplained explosions and leaks on Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea, calling them “gross sabotage”.
SAPO took over the investigation from the police because “it could relate to a serious crime that could be at least partially targeted Swedish interests,” it said.
The intelligence service added “it could not be ruled out that a foreign power is behind it”.
In separate statements, SAPO and the Swedish Prosecutor’s Office said the investigation was currently focused on potential “gross sabotage”.
On Monday, leaks occurred in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea off the coast Danish the island of Bornholm.
Seismic institutes reported on Tuesday that they had recorded “in all probability” explosions in the area before the leaks were discovered.
Both Moscow and Washington denied on Wednesday that they were responsible for the suspected sabotage.
EU manager Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday said “sabotage” caused the leaks. She threatened the “strongest possible response” to any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure.
The EU has not named a potential perpetrator or suggested a reason for the suspected sabotage.
“Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is completely unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response,” said the EU’s foreign policy chief. Josep Borrell on Wednesday.
The UN Security Council will meet on Friday at the request of Russia to discuss the damage. The French UN mission, which holds the presidency of the 15-member council in September, said the meeting would address the Nord Stream pipelines that Russia and European partners spent billions of dollars building.
The Copenhagen police begin an investigation
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines have been at the center of geopolitical tensions in recent months as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
While the pipelines – are operated by a consortium majority-owned by Russian gas giants Gazprom – are not currently operational, they both still contain gas.
According to Danish authorities, the leaks will continue until the gas in the pipelines runs out, which is expected to happen on Sunday.
More than half of the gas in the damaged gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 has left the pipes, according to the head of the Danish Energy Authority, Kristoffer Böttzauw.
Danish police have also launched an investigation into the case and cooperated with police authorities in Sweden and Germany, Copenhagen police chief Anne Tonnes told a press conference.
The pipelines contained a total of 778 million cubic meters of natural gas, which corresponds to 32% of Denmark’s annual CO2-equivalent emissions, the Energy Agency states in a statement.
Germany says it must prepare for the “unthinkable” after gas leaks
Germany’s interior minister said on Wednesday the country must prepare for previously “unbelievable” threats to its energy security after dramatic pipeline leaks that the EU blamed on sabotage.
Nancy Faeser said Europe’s top economy would need to step up its vigilance to manage such risks in the wake of the damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 energy links between Germany and Russia.
“We have to adapt to scenarios that were previously unthinkable,” she said. “It requires strong security agencies with the necessary resources and powers.”
Faeser called for a quick investigation into the “probable act of sabotage” on the pipelines under the Baltic Sea near Denmark and Sweden so that “those responsible” can be identified.
“Protecting critical infrastructure is the highest priority,” she said, adding that Berlin had “for months” assumed there was an “abstract threat to the energy infrastructure” given its high profile in the wake of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said the “disturbing incident” underlined the importance of an ongoing “modernisation” of the German navy’s surveillance fleet in cooperation with partner states on the Baltic Sea.
Germany, which until recently was heavily dependent on Russian energy, will wait for a full investigation into the incident before drawing any conclusions, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)
Originally published on France24
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