Sweden closes investigation on Nord Stream pipeline incident

Sweden closes investigation on Nord Stream pipeline incident

Sweden has decided to close its investigation concerning the explosions on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines that occurred in September 2022.

Germany, Sweden and Denmark each initiated respective national investigations into the incident after four gas leaks were found on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in September 2022, two in Sweden’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and two in the Danish territory.

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Now, Swedish prosecutors announced that the conclusion of the investigation is that Swedish jurisdiction does not apply and that the investigation therefore should be closed.

According to the Swedes, the investigation has been able to establish and confirm circumstances that, taken together, lead to the conclusion that there is no longer any reason to continue the Swedish preliminary investigation because it can be assumed that Swedish courts lack jurisdiction.

Public Prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist led the investigation whose primary purpose was to establish whether Swedish citizens were involved in the act and whether Swedish territory was used to carry out the act, thereby risking damaging the country’s interests or security.

The investigation has now reached such a stage that the authorities have a clear view of the incident and that nothing has emerged to indicate that Sweden or Swedish citizens were involved in the attack which took place in international waters.

“The investigation has been systematic and thorough. Among other things, a large number of ship movements have been analysed in order to understand what has happened. In addition to that, an extensive crime scene investigation has been carried out and several interviews have been held in the matter. Against the background of the situation we now have, we can state that Swedish jurisdiction does not apply,” said Ljungqvist.

“We have had good cooperation with several countries, above all Denmark and Germany, where we have continuously shared information and status reports. We have had in-depth cooperation with the investigation conducted by the German authorities. Within the framework of this legal cooperation, we have been able to hand over material that can be used as evidence in the German investigation.”

Ljungqvist said that the German investigation continues, however, due to the secrecy that prevails in international legal cooperation, he could not comment further on the cooperation that has taken place.

The twin Nord Stream pipeline system runs from Vyborg, Russia, to Lubmin near Greifswald, Germany, and crosses the EEZs of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany, as well as the territorial waters of Russia, Denmark, and Germany.

After the Norwegian and Swedish seismic institutes had confirmed that underwater blasts preceded the leaks, European authorities said that the incident could have been the result of “deliberate actions”.

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In a letter sent to the UN Security Council together with Sweden and Denmark in July 2023, Germany said its inquiry had found subsea explosive traces in samples taken from a sailing yacht, which was chartered in the name of a person who used documents provided in order to hide the identity of the real charterer.

In line with this, Sweden’s analyses revealed explosive residue on several of the foreign objects that were found in the area in the Baltic Sea.

According to a report from the Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS), an enormous amount of methane gas was released into the atmosphere due to damage to the pipelines.