But the statements don’t address a key question in the months-long mystery: Who is to blame? How did they do that?
European leaders accuse Russia of ‘sabotage’ after Nord Stream blast
“Advanced analysis work is still ongoing – with the aim of drawing firmer conclusions about the Nord Stream incident,” the agency said in a statement. “The investigation is extensive and complex and will ultimately reveal whether anyone is suspected and prosecuted as a result.”
The explosion occurred in the south of mainland Sweden, east of the Danish island of Bornholm. Multiple investigations are ongoing, with Danish and German authorities gathering evidence.
European officials began using the word “sabotage” within hours of the simultaneous explosions in late September. Seismologists say the data point to an explosion, not a naturally occurring earthquake or landslide.
“These were deliberate actions, not accidents,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told reporters on September 15. 27. “The situation is serious.”
European leaders point out that Russia is the only player with the technical capability and motivation to disrupt the Nord Stream pipeline with an underwater explosion.
The damage did not have an immediate impact on Europe’s energy supply. Russia has already cut off gas supplies as relations soured during the Ukraine war. Countries previously dependent on Russian gas have scrambled to build reserves and secure alternative energy suppliers.
But European leaders said the bombings were a threat, sending a message that their critical infrastructure could become vulnerable if they continued to support Ukraine. They have since tightened security around critical infrastructure and stepped up naval operations.
Russia has denied responsibility and questioned the logic of the European account. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has launched legal proceedings in connection with an act of international terrorism.
Nord Stream leak may be largest methane leak ever, but it’s not catastrophic
Russian energy giant Gazprom stopped gas flow through Nord Stream 1 earlier this year, citing technical problems, while European leaders accused Moscow of “blackmail”. The newer Nord Stream 2 pipeline has not yet been approved to operate; Germany froze the project ahead of the war in Ukraine.
The explosion hit two pipes – and the resulting leak produced the largest ever release of methane gas into the atmosphere. But energy and climate experts didn’t expect it to have a significant impact on climate change.
Francis reported from London.