Swedish investigators have found traces of explosives on fragments of “foreign objects” recovered from the blast sites of the Nord Stream undersea pipelines, the nation’s security service SAPO said on Friday.
The new evidence confirms that the energy links were targeted in an act of sabotage, it said.
“The advanced analysis work is still in progress – the aim is to draw more definitive conclusions about the Nord Stream incidents,” the agency said. “The investigation is extensive and complex and will eventually show whether anyone can be suspected of, and later prosecuted for this.”
- The explosions that breached three of the four strings of the pipelines, and damaged the fourth, took place in late September. The Nord Stream infrastructure linked Russia directly to Germany but was not fully operational at the time of the attack due to the rift between Russia and Western nations over the crisis in Ukraine.
The incident happened as the German public was becoming increasingly unsettled by rising energy prices, a trend partially attributable to the EU’s decision to break off trade with Moscow in retaliation for its military operation in Ukraine.
- The Nord Stream incident made it physically impossible to resume direct supplies under the Baltic Sea.
- Officials in Moscow saw the US as the biggest beneficiary of the situation. Washington has long pressured Germany to reduce energy cooperation with Russia and offered its more expensive liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative.
The Russian military claimed that the UK may have been involved in the plot, a suggestion that its British counterparts ridiculed.
Russia said the refusal by the EU nations to allow it to be involved in the investigation of the blasts raises the question of whether they want the truth about it to come out. Germany, Sweden, and Denmark are each conducting its own probe.
The two Nordic nations have a jurisdiction claim because the pipelines run through their exclusive economic zone.
The three countries rejected the idea of forming a joint team, citing national security grounds.