Political Science

The Probe into Russian Pipeline Leaks, According to Sweden, has Increased Suspicion of “Gross Sabotage”

The Probe into Russian Pipeline Leaks, According to Sweden, has Increased Suspicion of “Gross Sabotage”

A crime scene examination into the gas leaks from two underwater pipelines linking Germany and Russia, according to Sweden’s national security service, “strengthened the suspicions of gross sabotage.”

Sweden’s Security Service said the investigation found there had been detonations at the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Swedish exclusive economic zone, which caused “extensive damage” to the pipelines.

It added that “certain seizures have been made,” without offering further details, and that these would 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.

In a separate statement, Sweden’s prosecutor’s office said the area was no longer cordoned off.

The odd Nord Stream gas leaks, which are located in international waters but inside of Denmark’s and Sweden’s exclusive economic zones, were the subject of explosions, according to seismologists’ reports on Sept. 26.

The largest gas leak, according to camera evidence, produced a surface disturbance that was around 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) in diameter, while the smallest leak produced a circle that was about 200 meters in diameter, according to information from Denmark’s armed forces at the time. The cause of the gas leaks is not yet known.

The European Union suspects sabotage, particularly as the incident comes amid a bitter energy standoff between Brussels and Moscow.

Russia has denied that it was behind the suspected attack, calling such accusations “stupid.”

‘Reckless release’ of emissions

Late last month, Swedish and Danish authorities said at least two detonations occurred underwater, damaging the pipelines and causing major leaks of gas into the Baltic Sea.

The magnitude of these explosions was measured at 2.3 and 2.1 on the Richter scale, respectively, they said, and likely corresponded to an explosive load of “several hundred kilos.”

Two of the leaks occurred in Denmark’s exclusive economic zone and two in Sweden’s exclusive economic zone.

Climate scientists have described the shocking images of gas spewing to the surface of the Baltic Sea as a “reckless release” of greenhouse gas emissions that, if deliberate, “amounts to an environmental crime.”