Berlin suspects the pipelines were targeted on purpose, but has stopped short of assigning blame, the WSJ reports
The blasts that ripped through the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines last month were likely caused by sabotage, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing German officials familiar with the investigation. Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that NATO had conducted a military exercise this summer close to the location where the leaks were found.
According to the outlet, while German investigators have so far failed to definitively identify the culprits, they are “working under the assumption that Russia was behind the blasts.” Moscow has repeatedly denied that it had anything to do with the incident.
German officials reportedly believe that the alleged attack was not likely to have been conducted by a military submarine, given that the Baltic Sea around Denmark’s Bornholm Island, where the explosions occurred, is relatively shallow. This would make it difficult for underwater vessels to operate without being detected. According to one theory, an explosive device may have been dropped from a ship and detonated remotely, sources told the WSJ.
On Tuesday, Copenhagen Police said the preliminary investigation into the Nord Stream leaks suggests they were caused by “powerful explosions,” without providing further details.
The pipelines, which were built to deliver Russian natural gas directly to Germany, lost pressure abruptly on September 26, following a series of underwater explosions off Bornholm, within the economic zones of Denmark and Sweden.
Moscow has denounced the incident as a terrorist attack and called for an investigation into the matter. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted that this summer, NATO conducted military drills not far from Bornholm. She was apparently speaking about the BALTOPS 2022 exercises held in June, in which ‘’deep-sea equipment’’ was used intensively.
According to Germany’s Interior Ministry, Sweden rejected a plan to set up a joint investigation team with Berlin and Denmark. Stockholm argued that its own findings are too sensitive to share even with other EU member states, Reuters reported.
All three nations have said they will not grant access to the investigation to Russia. This prompted Moscow to summon the German, Danish, and Swedish envoys, while declaring that it would not recognize the results of the probe unless Russian experts are invited to take part.
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