Swedish police launch investigation on Nord Stream incident
Following reports of undersea explosions at the site where gas leaks occurred in the Nord Stream pipeline, Sweden announces launching an investigation into the possible causes.
The Swedish police began an investigation into possible sabotage of the gas leak at the Nord Stream pipeline, a police representative said on Tuesday.
"We have established a report and the crime classification is gross sabotage," the spokesperson told sources.
The Swedish Maritime Administration earlier reported that it did not find any evidence related to the causes of the gas leaks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines.
On Monday, Operator Nord Stream AG said in a statement, "Tonight, the dispatchers of the Nord Stream 1 control center registered a pressure drop on both strings of the gas pipeline. The reasons are being investigated."
The Swedish Maritime Administration confirmed that gas leaks were identified on both pipelines Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 near Bornholm, the Baltic sea, warning vessels to maintain a distance of 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the leaks.
"The Swedish Maritime Administration has no information on the cause of the leaks. Our task in this situation is as follows: We are warning vessels in the vicinity and asking them to keep a safe distance of 5 nautical miles (about 9 km) from the sites. It is a well-measured safety zone," the watchdog said.
The agency also issued warnings for "aircraft with a safety altitude of 1,000 meters."
Following the incident, German newspaper Tagesspiegel claimed Monday 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".
The German newspaper quoted an informed source as saying that the German government and agencies investigating the incident "can’t imagine a scenario that isn't a targeted attack."
"Everything speaks against a coincidence," the source said.
As soon as the gas leak incident took place, a senior White House official said on Tuesday that the US is "ready" to help European allies after leaks erupted from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines carrying Russian gas to western Europe.
"I'm not going to speculate on the cause, and I know our European partners are investigating. We stand ready to provide support to their efforts," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
On the same note, Wikileaks issued a tweet earlier today, exposing gas wars between Russia and the US.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has likewise suggested that the Nord Stream pipelines had been damaged in an act of sabotage.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Peskov commented on a statement issued by Nord Stream AG, the network's operator, saying that three offshore lines of the Nord Stream pipeline system sustained "unprecedented" damage in just one day.
“No option can be ruled out right now,” Peskov said when asked if the damage may have been the result of sabotage. Moscow is very concerned about the situation and called for an immediate and thorough investigation into the incident, which has implications for energy security on the “entire continent", Peskov told reporters.