Sweden Finds Explosive Traces Calling Nord Stream “Gross Sabotage”

explosive traces found at Nord Stream
Danish authorities released pictures of the gas escaping from the pipeline after four explosions in September ( (Danish Defence Command)

Published Nov 18, 2022 3:01 PM by The Maritime Executive

Swedish authorities released statements confirming that the explosions at the Nord Stream pipeline were acts of “gross sabotage.” The Swedish Security Service and the prosecutor’s office released separate statements, both announcing that they have found evidence of sabotage, confirming the earlier reports that the explosion and damage to the gas line from Russia to Germany was neither accidental nor the result of a natural failure.

“In the crime scene investigations carried out on site in the Baltic Sea, the extensive damage to the gas pipelines resulting from detonations has been thoroughly documented. Several seizures have been made, including foreign items,” the Swedish Security Service said in a statement released this morning.

Both the Security Service and the prosecutor made reference to traces of explosives without providing any details on the specific explosive found. Saying the “incident is gross sabotage,” prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist revealed, “Analyzes that have now been carried out show traces of explosives on several of the foreign objects that were found. The advanced analysis work continues to be able to draw safer conclusions about the incident.”

The Security Service also reported that explosive residue was identified on a number of the seized and analyzed foreign items as part of the crime scene investigations. They reported that the advanced analysis work is still in progress, with the aim to draw more definitive conclusions about the Nord Stream incidents.

The investigation is being conducted by the Swedish Security Service and is headed by National Security Unit prosecutor Ljungqvist. Sweden noted that it is being assisted by several agencies including, among others, the Swedish Coast Guard, the Swedish Armed Forces, and the Swedish Police Authority. It is also coordinating with Danish authorities and there have been reports that the United States offered underwater acoustic analysis services for sound recordings from the time around the blast, according to CNN.

“The investigation is extensive and complex and will eventually show whether anyone can be suspected of, and later prosecuted for this,” according to the Security Service statement. The prosecutor also confirmed that the preliminary investigation continues and “must show whether anyone can be served with suspicion of a crime.”

Russia for its part responded to the latest announcements from Sweden saying that it again points to terrorist activity. Reuters reports that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the latest data continues “in favor of confirming a subversive act or a terrorist act.” The Russians have alternately blamed the west and specifically the United Kingdom, something flatly denied by the British, or alternately subversives or terrorists. Asked what Russia would do, Peskov said Russia will wait until a full damage assessment to the Nord Stream gas pipelines is done before deciding on if any repairs would be made.

After the incident at Nord Stream, efforts were made across Europe, including at Norwegian facilities, to further strengthen security. The European Commission also announced emergency measures, including joint buying of gas by EU member states.