Sweden Ends Investigation Into Nord Stream Blasts Due To Jurisdiction Issues

By Mike Eckel, alumnus of The Fletcher School and Senior News Correspondent

Sweden has ended its investigation into the explosions that rocked the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in 2022, saying it has no jurisdiction to proceed.

Prosecutors said on February 7 that a preliminary investigation has given authorities “a good picture” of the incident and that nothing has emerged to indicate that Sweden or Swedish citizens were involved in the attack, which took place in international waters.

Western officials initially blamed Russia for the blasts, which all but destroyed the pipelines. Moscow blamed the West, saying it had no reason for damaging an energy link vital to bringing its supplies westward.

“The preliminary investigation has been systematic and thorough. Among other things, a large number of ship movements have been analyzed in order to understand what has happened. In addition to that, an extensive crime scene investigation has been carried out and several interrogations have been held in the matter,” the Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a statement.

“Against the background of the situation we now have, we can state that Swedish jurisdiction is missing,” public prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said in the statement.

Two more investigations, one by Denmark and another one by Germany, are still under way.

“I can inform you that our investigations are ongoing. No further information will be shared at this point,” Germany’s Federal Prosecutor-General’s press office said in an emailed response to RFE/RL.

The blasts, which occurred on September 26, 2022, on the Baltic seabed east of the Danish island of Bornholm, caused massive leaks and were seen as a dangerous attack on European energy infrastructure half a year into Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

The blasts were discovered due to the residual gas that was bubbling up to the surface.

The source of the explosions, which increased tensions that followed the start of the war, has remained a major international mystery.

Nord Stream is majority-owned by Russia’s Gazprom and supplies millions of Europeans with gas.

The pipelines were built by Russia to bring its gas directly to Europe via Germany, bypassing Ukraine, Poland, and other nations that had hostile ties with Moscow. While the first pipeline was operational, the second had not gotten final approval from German regulators.

The United States had warned for years that the pipelines were a security risk for Germany and other European nations, making the countries beholden to Russian energy exports.

(This post is republished from RFERL.)

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