Climate scientists described the shocking images of gas spewing to the surface of the Baltic Sea as a “reckless release” of greenhouse gas emissions that, if deliberate, “amounts to an environmental crime.”
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Sweden’s national security service on Thursday said a crime scene investigation into the gas leaks from two underwater pipelines connecting Russia to Germany “strengthened the suspicions of gross sabotage.”
Sweden’s Security Police said the investigation found there had been detonations at the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Swedish exclusive economic zone, which caused “extensive damage” to the pipelines.
It added that “certain seizures have been made,” without offering further details, and that these would now be reviewed and analyzed.
“The continued preliminary investigation must show whether someone can be served with suspicion and later prosecuted,” Sweden’s Security Police said in a statement.
In a separate statement, Sweden’s Prosecutors’ Office said the area was no longer cordoned off.
Seismologists on Sept. 26 reported explosions in the vicinity of the unusual Nord Stream gas leaks, which are situated in international waters but inside Denmark’s and Sweden’s exclusive economic zones.
Denmark’s armed forces said at the time that video footage showed the largest gas leak created a surface disturbance of roughly 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) in diameter, while the smallest leak caused a circle of approximately 200 meters. The cause of the gas leaks is not yet known.
The European Union suspects sabotage, particularly as the incident comes amid a bitter energy standoff between Brussels and Moscow.
Russia has denied that it was behind the suspected attack, calling such accusations “stupid.”
Late last month, Swedish and Danish authorities said at least two detonations occurred underwater, damaging the pipelines and causing major leaks of gas into the Baltic Sea.
The magnitude of these explosions was measured at 2.3 and 2.1 on the Richter scale, respectively, they said, and likely corresponded to an explosive load of “several hundred kilos.”
Two of the leaks occurred in Denmark’s exclusive economic zone and two in Sweden’s exclusive economic zone.
Climate scientists have described the shocking images of gas spewing to the surface of the Baltic Sea as a “reckless release” of greenhouse gas emissions that, if deliberate, “amounts to an environmental crime.”