Sweden Orders Area Around Nord Stream Pipeline Leaks Closed

On Tuesday, the Swedish prosecutor in charge of handling the investigation into leaking pipelines in the Baltic Sea announced that he had ordered the area surrounding the leaks to be suspected gross sabotage.”

Prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist noted during his announcement that he “cannot go into details” about the investigation process.

“I understand the great public interest, but we are at the beginning of a preliminary investigation and I therefore cannot go into details about which investigative measures we are taking,” Ljungqvist said.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Coast Guard has stated that ships, divers, fishing vessels and underwater vehicles have been banned from going within 5.8 miles of the two leaks off the coast of Sweden.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were damaged in four locations off the coast of southern Sweden and Denmark as a result of underwater blasts that were caused by several hundred pounds of explosives. The damage reportedly caused significant methane leaks in international waters in the Baltic Sea.

While authorities in Denmark said over the weekend that the pipelines had stopped leaking, the Swedish Coast Guard revealed on Monday that one of its planes had reported that the smaller leak in Nord Stream 2 had actually increased, though they did not provide an explanation as to why the leak had grown.

Blame for the act of sabotage has been thrown around, with many asserting that Russia had damaged its own pipelines. Meanwhile, some have tried to blame the United States, citing President Joe Biden’s vow in February to “bring an end to” the Nord Stream pipeline if Russia invaded Ukraine. In a tweet, Polish MEP and former foreign minister Radek Sikorski shared an image of the leak and wrote: “Thank you, USA.”

Speaking to Denmark’s parliament as it reconvened on Tuesday, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called the pipeline attacks “an unheard deed which we look at with the utmost seriousness.”

She went on to announce that an investigation “is now underway. Preparedness in the energy sector has been increased. And together with our partners and allies, we are raising awareness of critical infrastructure.”