There has been long speculation, but it has now been established that the explosions in September, which destroyed parts of the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea, were indeed targeted sabotage.

    There is no longer any doubt about an attack. The analyzes carried out found traces of explosives on several “foreign objects” found at the sites of the blasts, according to Swedish prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist, who is leading the preliminary investigation. He added in a statement that technical analyzes are continuing to “draw more reliable conclusions regarding the incident.”

    At the end of September, four major gas leaks were discovered in the two Nord Stream pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm. Seismic institutes recorded two underwater explosions shortly before. The Swedish Public Prosecution Service says that the investigation will eventually determine whether someone can be formally suspected of a crime. Until then, people in Stockholm do not want to answer questions from the media about the case.

    Who is the culprit?

    This leaves the most important question unanswered: who was behind the attack and what was the purpose? There has been much speculation about possible motives. The main suspect was Vladimir Putin, who would like to shut down the gas supply to Germany in this way, with the intention of forcing the German government to stop providing financial and military support to Ukraine. He also wanted to fuel the energy crisis here with an abrupt halt to gas exports to Western Europe.

    Reference has been made to the Russian Special Forces that can handle such a job, in this case marine brigade 561 of the Russian military intelligence service GRU. Russia flatly denied responsibility for sabotage. Reference has also been made to a commando action by Poles, Americans or British with the aim of paralyzing the pipeline, but then to curb Russian revenues from gas sales. An important part of the costs of the war in Ukraine is financed by the Russian sale of oil and gas to Europe.

    Notable in this regard and oft-quoted was a statement made by US President Biden – an avowed opponent of Nord Stream 2 – in February this year when he said that ‘there will no longer be Nord Stream 2 if Russia launches a tank invasion of Ukraine. ‘ consider.

    Center of geopolitical tensions

    After the preliminary inspections, investigators already suspected sabotage. Although the leaks were in international waters, two of them were in Denmark’s exclusive economic zone and two in Sweden’s. At the end of October, Nord Stream sent a Russian-flagged civilian vessel to inspect the damage in the Swedish zone.

    The pipelines connecting Russia to Germany have been at the center of geopolitical tensions. Especially after Russia cut off gas supplies to Europe in presumed retaliation for Western sanctions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Both pipelines were shut down at the time of the ruptures. Washington and Moscow have both denied any involvement and have singled out the other as responsible.