An inspection of two of the leaks at the Nord Stream pipelines linking Russia to Europe has reinforced suspicions that they were acts of sabotage, Swedish authorities said Thursday.
“We can conclude that there have been detonations at Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the Swedish exclusive economic zone that has led to extensive damage to the gas pipelines,” public prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said in a statement.
Ljungqvist added that the “crime scene investigation had strengthened the suspicions of aggravated sabotage.”
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“Pieces of evidence have been gathered at the crime scene and these will now be examined,” the prosecutor said.
The prosecutor did not disclose details, citing the confidentiality of the investigation and stating that “the issue is very sensitive.”
All of the four leaks, which were discovered on Monday last week, are in the Baltic Sea off the Danish island of Bornholm.
Two of the leaks were located in the Swedish exclusive economic zone, and the two others in the Danish one.
On Monday, Sweden’s Prosecution authority said it was blocking off the area around the leaks in the Swedish zone in order to carry out an inspection of the scene.
The authority said Thursday that the restrictions had been lifted following the completion of the inspection.
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, have been at the center of geopolitical tensions as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
While the pipelines are not currently in operation, they both still contained gas before they fell victim to apparent sabotage.
Both Washington and Moscow have denied responsibility for the leaks.
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