Investigators have found traces of undersea explosives in samples taken from a yacht that was inspected as part of an investigation into last year’s attacks on Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea.
BERLIN – European diplomats have told the United Nations Security Council that investigators have found traces of undersea explosives in samples taken from a yacht inspected as part of an investigation into last year’s attacks on Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea.
The diplomats said the investigation has yet to determine who sabotaged the pipelines, which were built to carry Russian natural gas to Germany, or whether any country was involved.
Denmark, Sweden and Germany are investigating the Sept. 26 attack, and the Danish Foreign Ministry tweeted a letter on Tuesday from the three countries’ ambassadors to the United Nations to the Security Council president with information on their activities so far.
Officials expressed caution in March about media reports that a pro-Ukrainian group was involved in the vandalism. German media then reported that five men and a woman had used a yacht chartered by a Ukrainian-owned company in Poland to carry out the attack, and that the ship had set off from the German port of Rostock.
German federal prosecutors declined to comment directly on this and other reports, but confirmed that a boat was searched in January and said there were suspicions that it could be used to transport explosives to blow up pipelines.
Part of this week’s letter detailing Germany’s findings said the yacht’s exact trajectory had not been definitively determined. “Traces of explosives under the sea were found in the samples taken from the boat during the investigation,” the letter said, but gave no details.
“At this stage it is not possible to reliably identify the perpetrators and their motives, particularly with regard to the question of whether the incident was directed by a state or an actor,” she said. “All information will be followed up to clarify the matter during the ongoing investigations.”
Undersea explosions destroyed the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which was Russia’s natural gas supply route to Germany until Russia cut off supplies at the end of August.
The explosions also destroyed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which never entered service because Germany suspended its certification process shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
The pipelines have long been the target of criticism from the United States and some of its allies, who have warned that they pose a threat to Europe’s energy security by increasing reliance on Russian gas.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian officials accused the United States of carrying out the bombings, which they described as a terrorist attack.
Ukraine has rejected suggestions it may have ordered the attack. Countries investigating the bombings have not commented on who might be responsible.
Since the explosions, NATO has beefed up its presence in the Baltic and North Seas, using dozens of ships, planes, and undersea equipment such as drones.
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