Mon, 28 Nov 2022

Authorities suspect ?gross sabotage? as US reportedly offers 'support? to European investigations

Police in Sweden have launched a preliminary investigation into a possible sabotage attack on Russia's Nord Stream pipelines 1 and 2, after several major leaks were reported following sudden losses of pressure on three of the network's lines on Monday.

"We have established a report and the crime classification is gross sabotage," a national police spokesperson said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Earlier on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "no option can be ruled out" when it comes to determining how the pipelines in the Baltic Sea gas network were damaged. German daily Tagesspiegel also reported on Tuesday that Berlin suspects the leaks to be the result of a "targeted attack."

Suspicions of sabotage grew after scientists in Denmark and Sweden said they registered underwater blasts near the pipelines on Monday.

"There is no doubt that these were explosions," seismologist Bjorn Lund of Sweden's National Seismology Centre (SNSN) told public broadcaster SVT on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, an unnamed senior US official told AFP that Washington would not speculate on the cause of the damage, but is "ready to provide support" to Europe in investigating the incident.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline was finished in 2011, with construction on Nord Stream 2 beginning in 2018. Political pressure and US sanctions caused numerous delays before the newer line was completed in 2021, though it never actually came online.

The German government put Nord Stream 2's certification on hold two days before Russia began its military offensive in Ukraine in late February and has since refused to open it.


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