Swedish investigators announced Friday the conclusion of their formal investigation into the Nord Stream pipeline blasts on September 26. To nobody's surprise, the investigation has concluded the natural gas leaks which rocked European energy markets and resulted in tit-for-tat accusations between Moscow and the West was the result of "gross sabotage".
While not naming a culprit, the Swedish final report of this initial stage of the inquiry uncovered evidence of "foreign objects" placed on the pipelines.
"During analyzes carried out, residues of explosives have been identified on several of the foreign objects seized," the report said.
The Swedish Prosecution Authority's statement said, "In the crime scene investigations carried out on site in the Baltic Sea, the area and the extensive damage to the gas lines as a result of the detonations have been extensively documented."
Russia has denied responsibility, while at the same time pointing the finger at Washington or its allies. Swedish investigators say they will now work toward establishing who was behind the sabotage:
"The advanced analysis work is still in progress – the aim is to draw more definitive conclusions about the Nord Stream incidents," the agency said. "The investigation is extensive and complex and will eventually show whether anyone can be suspected of, and later prosecuted for this."
Previously, Denmark and Sweden said soon after the massive leaks in late September that the blasts "probably corresponded to an explosive load of several hundred kilos."
Of course, the gas pipeline did not explode on its own. The aim was to sabotage and prevent #Europe from thinking of resupplying the continent with #Russia's gas for a while.— Elijah J. Magnier 🇪🇺 (@ejmalrai) November 18, 2022
Traces of explosives found at Nord Stream pipelines, Sweden says https://t.co/aSUs4W7n5s
Russian media sources, as well as a handful of Western pundits, have alleged that US naval activity was observed in that regional of the Baltic Sea during the time of the incident.
If Sweden ultimately says that Russia was behind the attack on the pipelines, Moscow is likely to dismiss it, and call for their own independent access to and investigation of the evidence and site.