Mats Ljungqvist has told the Swedish media that he hopes the culprits behind the attack will be found and prosecuted
Sweden hopes to finish its investigation into the Nord Stream gas pipeline sabotage by the fall of this year, prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist told Sweden’s radio on Wednesday. The underwater pipelines were destroyed in a series of explosions in September 2022.
In a conversation with the public service company SR, Ljungqvist stated that his team had met the German prosecutor investigating the case and that the two countries were cooperating. However, he did not provide further details about the investigation, other than setting an expected timeline.
“I hope that at least this autumn we will be able to make a decision on prosecution, at least that is the ambition as it looks now.” Ljungqvist said. “I actually think, over time, [who did] it will be highlighted” he added.
Already in April, Ljungqvist released a statement in which he said there was “no doubt” that the attack on Nord Stream constituted “gross sabotage in international waters”, and adds that the primary focus of the investigation was to determine whether Swedish interests or the security of the kingdom had been threatened.
In a statement to Reuters the same month, the prosecutor explained that “absolute main scenario” investigated by his team was that a state actor had been “directly or at least indirectly” responsible for the attack.
In his interview with SR, Ljungqvist presented this hypothesis “has been reinforced during the course of the investigation.”
No country has yet claimed responsibility for the attack on the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipelines that linked Russia and Germany across the Baltic Sea. Sweden, Germany and Denmark have carried out investigations into the attack since last autumn. However, all three have been reluctant to open up about their findings and have rejected offers from Russia to help with the investigation.
At the same time, American journalist Seymour Hersh has accused the US of ordering and carrying out sabotage with the help of the Norwegian Navy under the cover of BALTOPS military exercises. His claims have been supported by Moscow, with Russian President Vladimir Putin pointing out that the US in particular had a motive for the attack because of its position as a competing gas supplier to Europe.
Washington and its allies have denied the allegations and have tried to blame Moscow for destroying its own infrastructure and have also speculated that “pro-Ukrainian groups” operating from Poland may have carried out the operation, with or without Kiev’s official blessing.