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Nord Stream sabotage decision imminent: prosecutor

By EARLE GALE in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-02-07 09:40

FILE PHOTO: Gas bubbles from the Nord Stream 2 leak reaching surface of the Baltic Sea in the area shows disturbance of well over one kilometer diameter near Bornholm, Denmark, Sept 27, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

Sweden's investigation into the Nord Stream gas pipeline explosions will conclude this week, the prosecutor's office has announced.

In response to speculation in the Swedish daily newspaper Expressen, the office said it will reveal on Wednesday whether anyone will be charged in connection with the September 2022 blasts, or whether the case will be closed, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The Nord Stream pipelines, which carried Russian natural gas into Germany and the wider European Union via underwater routes across the Baltic Sea, were ruptured in what appears to have been a series of deliberately-set explosions in the waters of Sweden's and Denmark's economic zones.

During investigations into the explosions, officials from both Sweden and Denmark said they found traces of explosives, which suggested deliberate sabotage. The pipelines have been crippled ever since.

With the blasts happening soon after the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and with Russia's exports of natural gas to the EU in the spotlight at the time, Russia has contended the blasts were instigated by the UK and the US, and called for a "transparent international investigation" to get to the truth.

Reuters said Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russia's government, said on Tuesday that Moscow had repeatedly called on Sweden and Denmark to share information about

the acts of "sabotage against critical international infrastructure", but that details had not been forthcoming.The UK and US have, however, suggested other countries were behind the blasts, which released vast quantities of greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere, with The Times newspaper quoting sources in the UK intelligence services as saying Moscow was to blame.

Swedish police have so far only said they have been treating the blasts as "gross sabotage".

Prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist, who led Sweden's investigation, told Expressen his investigators had been working in close collaboration with police in Germany, and that "a decision is definitely coming".

Expressen said Sweden's Ministry of Justice was told about the prosecutor's decision last week.

The Wall Street Journal claimed in an article published last month that the investigations of both Sweden and Denmark had been hampered by a lack of cooperation from Poland's government. However, Tomasz Siemoniak, the minister in charge of Poland's intelligence services, insisted his country had cooperated.

"There were meetings of German and Polish prosecutors on this case and in no area was there any signal of any dissatisfaction of others who dealt with these cases," Siemoniak told Reuters. "From what I was able to determine, there was no situation in which there was a lack of cooperation or any intentional mistake made by anyone."

There is no word yet on when Denmark will finish its probe.

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