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Sweden finds traces of explosives near damaged Nord Stream pipeline: 'Gross sabotage'

FOX News logo FOX News 11/18/2022 Caitlin McFall
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Swedish authorities on Friday confirmed that preliminary analytics found traces of explosives on "foreign objects" that were found near the damaged Nord Stream pipelines in what the lead prosecutor described as "gross sabotage."

Chamber prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist is leading the ongoing investigation into the detonations near the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines that damaged the system in late September. 

SWEDISH INVESTIGATIVE TEAM FINDS 'DETONATIONS' DAMAGED NORD STREAM PIPELINE

Danish Defense shows the gas leaking at Nord Stream 2 seen from the Danish F-16 interceptor on Bornholm, Denmark on Sept. 27, 2022. Getty Images/Danish Defense © Getty Images/Danish Defense Danish Defense shows the gas leaking at Nord Stream 2 seen from the Danish F-16 interceptor on Bornholm, Denmark on Sept. 27, 2022. Getty Images/Danish Defense

The prosecutor confirmed what Western defense officials suspected was an act of sabotage but said the analytics work continues so that investigators can "draw safer conclusions about the incident."

"The preliminary investigation is very complex and extensive," Swedish authorities said in a statement. "The continued preliminary investigation must show whether anyone can be served with suspicion of a crime."

What may have been the largest methane leak in history occurred after four sites along the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipeline were unexpectedly damaged off the coast of Denmark in the Baltic Sea in late September.

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SWEDEN SENDS DIVING VESSEL TO INVESTIGATE NORD STREAM PIPELINES AFTER LEAK

In this photo provided by the Armed Forces of Denmark, the crew in a helicopter of the Armed Forces monitors the gas leak, in the Baltic Sea, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. Rune Dyrholm/Armed Forces of Denmark via AP © Rune Dyrholm/Armed Forces of Denmark via AP In this photo provided by the Armed Forces of Denmark, the crew in a helicopter of the Armed Forces monitors the gas leak, in the Baltic Sea, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. Rune Dyrholm/Armed Forces of Denmark via AP

Danish and Swedish authorities have since probed the sites to uncover what happened to the pipelines.

The pipelines were built to carry natural gas from Russia to Europe and some Western officials were quick to blame Moscow for the attacks, as it has continuously blocked gas supplies to the continent since its invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent fallout with European nations. 

"These are deliberate actions, not an accident," Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Sept. 27. "The situation is as serious as it gets."

Russia, who accused the U.S. of using underwater "robots" to target the pipelines, said it would not acknowledge any investigation results if it was not directly involved in the probes.

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin looks at Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto as he speaks during a press conference by the Government of Finland in Helsinki, Finland, Wednesday Sept. 28, 2022. Antti Yrj'nen/Lehtikuva via AP © Antti Yrj'nen/Lehtikuva via AP Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin looks at Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto as he speaks during a press conference by the Government of Finland in Helsinki, Finland, Wednesday Sept. 28, 2022. Antti Yrj'nen/Lehtikuva via AP

But Sweden rejected early on any suggestion that Moscow should be involved in the investigations and said "it wasn’t up for discussion."

"We don't usually involve foreign powers in our criminal investigations," Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said during an October briefing. "That's the basic approach. It is not up for discussion."

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