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Swedish Investigators Say Pipeline Leaks Evidence Points to Sabotage


After examining two huge natural gas pipelines from Russia, where several leaks occurred last week, Swedish investigators on Thursday said the leaks were caused by explosions that they suspect vandalism.

Last week, four separate leaks were detected in the pipes, called Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, were built to bring gas under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany and transit near Sweden and Denmark. Explosions were detected nearby shortly before the leak, and political leaders in Europe and the United States suggested the incident was a deliberate act.

Poland and Ukraine have both publicly blamed Russia, which has pointed the finger at the United States, and both Moscow and Washington have issued outraged denials.

On Thursday, the Swedish Security Service, Sweden’s equivalent of the FBI, confirmed suspicions that saboteurs were behind the leak.

Nina Odermalm-Schei, a spokeswoman for the agency, said: “Our suspicions of overall vandalism are stronger than before. “We can confirm that there have been explosions near Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the Swedish economic zone and severe damage to pipelines as a result,” she said.

She said that evidence gathered from the site will now be analyzed by experts with the intention of determining whether anyone can be prosecuted.

Swedish authorities have treated the area near Sweden where the leak occurred as a crime scene, and the investigation is being led by Mats Ljungqvist of the National Security Unit, a division of the public agency. Swedish federal prosecutor investigating crimes related to national security.

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden was on her way to attend a European security summit in Prague on Thursday when she was asked about the theory of sabotage that caused the leak.

“It’s very good that we are working intensively on this,” she said, according to Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, citing Sweden’s TT News Agency. “This is much more than Sweden and Denmark. This is about Europe’s energy supply,” said Ms. Andersson.

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