Sweden rebuffs Russia request to participate in Nord Stream probe: PM
Sweden rejected a request submitted by Russia to participate in the investigation into the attacks that hit Nord Stream 1.
Sweden has no plans on allowing Russia to participate in the ongoing probe into the explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said, as quoted by AFP.
The Russian embassy in Stockholm told Sputnik that Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin had requested Andersson to allow Russia to participate in the investigation into the attacks that hit Nord Stream.
"In Sweden, preliminary investigations are confidential, and this is certainly true in this case," Andersson said, according to AFP.
Simultaneously, the Swedish official highlighted that the gas leak took place in international waters, though in Sweden's exclusive economic zone, meaning ships of other countries may be present in the area, therefore, Russia will be allowed to approach the incident's site.
"The Swedish economic zone is not a territory governed by Sweden. Now we have lifted the blockade, and in the future other vessels may also be in this zone, those are the rules," the prime minister added.
According to the premier, the Swedish authorities were working on submitting an official response to Mishustin's request.
On September 26, unprecedented damage to three threads of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines was discovered. Two explosions were observed by Swedish seismologists along the pipelines. Investigators from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) later started a criminal investigation into the blasts as an act of international terrorism. It is currently impossible to figure out how long it will take to restore the pipelines to operational capacity.
The Nord Stream gas pipelines were damaged by two explosions, according to Danish officials during a NATO conference, each with the force of around 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms) of TNT, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing persons familiar with the case.
Previous reports said Flightradar24 data showed that US military helicopters habitually and on numerous occasions circled for hours over the site of the Nord Stream pipelines incident near Bornholm Island earlier in September.
Following the incident, the German newspaper Tagesspiegel claimed that Berlin is convinced that the loss of pressure in the three natural gas pipelines between Russia and Germany was not a coincidence and suspects a "targeted attack".
These revelations come after German newspaper Der Siegel reported that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) warned the German government there would be attacks on Nord Stream gas pipelines weeks ahead of any incident being reported around the pipelines.
In light of the whole debacle, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov underlined two days ago that the scenario surrounding Russia's Nord Stream pipelines is first and foremost beneficial to the United States, which is interested in forcing competitors off the European natural gas market.
Additionally, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West of being behind the damage to the Nord Stream pipelines. He said it had already "practically begun to destroy shared European energy infrastructure," stressing that "it is obvious to all who is profiting from this."
Sergei Kupriyanov, a spokesperson for the Russian energy giant Gazprom said earlier today that a NATO mine destroyer was discovered around the Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline in November 2015.
Spokesperson Sergei Kupriyanov recalled how NATO claimed at the time that the device was lost during exercises conducted in the region. He also highlighted how the device was pulled out by the Swedish armed forces, who then defused it.