The office of Sweden’s prosecutor also noted various “influence attempts” associated with the high-profile incident
The Swedish prosecutor investigating the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines has said that an attack by a state actor remains the “absolute main scenario” in its probe of the crime. This contradicts claims by some Western media, which have pointed the finger at a “pro-Ukrainian group” not linked to any government as a likely culprit.
“We believe it will be rather difficult to determine who did this,” Mats Ljungqvist told Reuters in a phone interview on Thursday. The people behind the sabotage “took care so that the evidence would not point in one direction, but in several directions.” However, he said, the type of explosives used in the attack ruled out “a very large number of actors.”
Reports by US, German and British news outlets previously claimed that a small group of “pro-Ukrainian” divers, possibly funded by wealthy individuals, could have pulled off the elaborate sabotage. This scenario is what Western intelligence services believe happened, the reports claimed.
Ljungqvist said some private companies specializing in “certain special missions” could “in theory, carry this out.”
“We don’t rule out anything, but that it is a state actor who is directly or at least indirectly behind this is of course our absolute main scenario, given all the circumstances,” he added.
Powerful explosions ripped through the Nord Stream pipelines last September, rendering the multibillion dollar projects incapable of pumping Russian natural gas to Germany and other European countries. Sweden is one of three EU nations conducting an investigation, as some of the blasts went off in its waters. The two others are Denmark, a stakeholder for the same reason as Sweden, and Germany.
Veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported in February that the sabotage had been ordered by US President Joe Biden and carried out by a joint US-Norwegian team. Both nations denied the allegations, but Russian President Vladimir Putin said he concurred with Hersh’s conclusions.
The Washington Post reported this week that Nord Stream became a topic carefully avoided during Western meetings. A diplomatic source said the incident was “like a corpse at a family gathering” that everyone pretends not to notice. The article claimed politicians in Europe suspect that Ukraine or Poland could have been behind the incident, but didn’t mention the US as a possible perpetrator.
Ljungqvist’s office on Thursday released an official update on the Nord Stream investigation. The statement explained that the incident “has obviously become an open arena for different influence attempts” and pledged to follow the facts.