German prosecutors searched ship over Nord Stream blast suspicions

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German investigators probing the Nord Stream gas pipeline blasts searched a ship suspected of having transported explosives used in the incident, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

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The searches took place from January 18 to 20 over the “suspicion that the ship in question could have been used to transport explosive devices that exploded on 26 September 2022 at the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea”, they said.

Investigators are still trying to determine the identity of the perpetrators and their motive, they added.

No firm conclusions can be drawn yet, in particular on whether the incident had been ordered by a state, they said. Investigators are currently still evaluating objects seized from the ship.

But prosecutors underlined that the employees of the German company that leased out the ship did not count among suspects.

Russian forces as the war enters its second year.

Investigations are ongoing as to what caused the Nord Stream pipelines, supplying Russian energy to Europe, to rupture and spew bubbles of natural gas into the Baltic Sea last September.

Western countries believe the explosions were deliberate but have not concluded who was behind them.

Russia, which has previously blamed the West, seized on the news on Wednesday to demand a transparent investigation in which it also wants to participate.

A separate report by Germany’s ARD broadcaster and Zeit newspaper on Tuesday said a group of five men and one woman, using forged passports, rented a yacht from a Poland-based company owned by Ukrainian citizens, but the nationality of the perpetrators was unclear.

“We have to make a clear distinction whether it was a Ukrainian group, whether it may have happened at Ukrainian orders, or a pro-Ukrainian group (acting) without knowledge of the government. But I am warning against jumping to conclusions,” Pistorius said on the side-lines of a summit in Stockholm.

Pistorius said earlier the likelihood was “equally high” that it could have been a “false flag operation staged to blame Ukraine.”

Germany meanwhile confirmed its investigators had raided a ship in January that may have been used to transport the explosives used to blow up the pipelines. But a statement by the federal prosecutor said there was no reliable information yet on motives or perpetrators, including on whether the attack was state-sponsored.

“What we do know is that there was an attack against the North (sic) Stream pipelines, an act of sabotage. But we have not been able to determine who was behind,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the same summit in Stockholm.

“There are ongoing national investigations and I think it’s right to wait until those are finalized before we say
anything more about who was behind.”

Read more:

Germany says Nord Stream attacks may be ‘false flag’ to smear Ukraine

Kremlin says reports on Nord Stream attack ‘coordinated’ effort to divert attention

Nord Stream investigations by Denmark, Sweden and Germany are ongoing

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