Sweden’s state security agency said on Thursday that its initial investigations into explosions last week along two Russian natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea have “reinforced the suspicion of serious sabotage” as the cause.
Separately, a Swedish prosecutor said that “seizures were made at the scene and are now being investigated,” although he did not identify the evidence seized.
Neither of the submarine pipelines Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 from Russia to Germany were operational at the time of the blasts, instead sending methane from the bubbling pipes to the surface off the coasts of Sweden and Denmark for days.
Some Scandinavian officials have speculated that Russia detonated the pipeline blasts to chastise Western allies for helping Ukrainian forces fight Moscow’s seven-month invasion and cutting off possible fuel flows for the coming winter months.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of attacking the pipelines, something the United States and its allies have vehemently denied. They said Russia had the most to gain by cutting off Europe’s energy supply.
The Swedish Security Service said its investigation confirmed “detonations” caused major damage to the pipelines. The security service said what happened in the Baltic Sea was “very serious” but gave no further details of its investigation.
Prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said he had given “temporary lockdown instructions”. [the area around the damaged pipelines to] Carry out an investigation at the crime scene.”
But he said that now that the initial investigation has been completed, the blockade around the pipelines off Sweden is being lifted.
The Danish and Swedish governments had previously said they suspected several hundred pounds of explosives had been used to damage the pipelines.
Some of the material in this report comes from The Associated Press and Reuters.