Russia aggrieved at Germany, Denmark and Sweden over Nord Stream probe

Russia's foreign ministry said Thursday it had summoned envoys of Germany, Denmark and Sweden to express "bewilderment" over Moscow's exclusion from an investigation into leaks on the Nord Stream pipelines.

Russia aggrieved at Germany, Denmark and Sweden over Nord Stream probe
The Nord Stream gas leak in the Baltic Sea photographed from Swedish Coast Guard aircraft on September 22nd. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Multiple leaks were discovered on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines connecting Russia to Germany, further raising political tensions already sky high since the Kremlin invaded Ukraine in February. All four leaks were located near Danish island Bornholm.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the leaks were an act of “international terrorism” that would benefit the United States, Poland and Ukraine.

Both Moscow and Washington have denied responsibility for the leaks, which were discovered in late September. Germany, Sweden and Denmark have formed a joint investigation unit to probe the apparent sabotage.

“The heads of the diplomatic missions of Germany, Denmark and Sweden in Moscow have been summoned to the Russian foreign ministry in recent days,” the Russian ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it “expressed bewilderment” over the lack of an official response to a request from Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to involve Russian energy giant Gazprom and “representatives of the competent departments” from Russia in the investigation conducted by Berlin, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

The envoys were told that if Russian experts are not involved “Moscow will proceed from the fact that the named countries have something to hide or they are covering for the perpetrators of these terrorist acts”, the ministry said.

It added that Russia will not recognise any “pseudo-results” of an investigation without its experts.

A spokesman for the German federal prosecutor’s office said earlier this week that it was investigating “against persons unknown” on suspicion of “intentionally causing an explosive blast” and “sabotage” linked to the leaks.

Germany’s federal prosecutor’s office typically only opens investigations into cases involving national security such as terror attacks.

Sweden on Monday said it would not allow Russia to join the ongoing probe of the pipeline leaks but added that Moscow could carry out its own inspections.

Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson’s statement followed earlier requests from Russia to be included in investigations into the alleged sabotage.

“In Sweden, preliminary investigations are confidential, and this is of course also true in this case,” Andersson told a press conference.

Since the leaks occurred in international waters, albeit in the Swedish exclusive economic zone, Russia would be able to approach the site of the leaks., she said

“Now we have lifted the block and then it is also possible for other ships to be in the area, those are the rules,” she told reporters.

However, Andersson noted that in addition to the Swedish investigation, there be a “joint investigation team” under an EU framework.

READ ALSO: Sweden’s Nord Stream site inspection ‘strengthened sabotage suspicions’

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Russia summons German, Swedish and Danish envoys over Nord Stream

Russia on Thursday summoned the envoys of Germany, Sweden and Denmark over Moscow's frustration with the lack of progress on probes into the sabotaged Nord Stream gas pipelines.

Russia summons German, Swedish and Danish envoys over Nord Stream

Built to carry Russian gas to Germany, the pipelines in the Baltic Sea were ruptured by subsea explosives months after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine in February, 2022.

Western countries have blamed the explosions under the Baltic Sea last September on Russia, but the Kremlin has accused the West of sabotage.

German, Swedish and Danish authorities have been investigating the blasts that sparked four leaks.

On Thursday, the Russian foreign ministry said it summoned the envoys and made an official diplomatic protest over “a complete lack of results of the national investigations allegedly carried out by the authorities of these countries”.

Moscow decried the three EU nations for failing to “ensure the transparency” of the investigations and insisted that Russia should be involved in the probes.

The Russian foreign ministry also pointed to the three countries’ “lack of interest” in establishing the truth.

“They are clearly dragging their heels and trying to conceal the traces and the true perpetrators of the crime,” the ministry said in a statement.

In March, the UN Security Council rejected a Moscow-drafted resolution calling for an independent inquiry into the sabotage.