Traces of explosives found at Nord Stream pipeline blast site, prosecutor says

A gas leak in the Baltic Sea caused by damage to the Nord Stream pipelines. Credit: Swedish Coast Guard via AP, File

The Swedish prosecutor leading the investigation into the damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines has confirmed the incident was sabotage and revealed that traces of explosives have been found at the Baltic Sea site.

Swedish and Danish authorities are investigating four holes in the two natural gas pipelines which link Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea and carry natural gas from Russia to Europe.

“Analysis carried out shows traces of explosives on several of the foreign objects that were found” at the site, Mats Ljungqvist, of the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said in a statement, which referred to the incident as "gross sabotage".

Explosions caused major damage to Russia’s undersea Nord Stream gas pipelines. Credit: AP

The prosecution authority added the preliminary investigation was “very complex and comprehensive” and further scrutiny would show whether anyone could be charged “with suspicion of crime”.

It comes a month after Danish officials confirmed there was extensive damage to the pipelines caused by “powerful explosions”.

Russia has previously accused the West of being behind the blasts, which were reported in September and caused huge tension in the war in Ukraine as gas supplies in Europe run short.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Moscow will wait until a full damage assessment has been carried out before deciding on any repairs.

The leaks, which stopped after several days, occurred in international waters but within the exclusive economic zones of Denmark and Sweden.

The governments of Denmark, Germany and Sweden have refrained from speculating over who may be behind the sabotage, saying only that there's insufficient proof so far to identify whoever is responsible. "We have no information on possible initiators of this act of sabotage,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, said.

Earlier this week, Germany marked the completion of port facilities for the first of five planned liquefied natural gas terminals it is scrambling to get running as it replaces the Russian pipeline gas that once accounted for more than half its supplies.

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