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Sweden says Nord Stream leak evidence pointing to deliberate act

In this photo provided by the Armed Forces of Denmark, a view the disturbance in the water above the gas leak, in the Baltic Sea, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. Following the suspected sabotage this week of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines that carry Russian natural gas to Europe, there were two leaks off Sweden, including a large one above North Stream 1, and a smaller one above North Stream 2. (Rune Dyrholm/Armed Forces of Denmark via AP)

Sweden believes that evidence it has reviewed related to the leaks to the Nord Stream pipelines that carry natural gas from Russia to supply much of Europe points to the ruptures being a deliberate act. 

Leaks have occurred in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, which run under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, over the past couple weeks. 

The international community has not yet determined the cause of the leaks, but multiple Western officials have said they believe Russia might have caused the leaks to increase economic pressure on Europe as it continues to support Ukraine in its defense against the Russian invasion. 

Denmark has concluded that “deliberate actions” caused the leaks and said that seismologists detected strong explosions near the pipeline before the leaks were discovered. 

The Associated Press reported on Thursday that the Swedish Security Service said its preliminary investigation “strengthened the suspicions of serious sabotage” as a possible cause. 

A Swedish prosecutor said authorities seized evidence from the “crime scene” to investigate further, the AP reported. The prosecutor said he had been given orders to temporarily block an area around the pipelines off the coast of Sweden while conducting a “crime scene investigation” but that it will be lifted now that the preliminary review is complete. 

The United Nations has reported that the leaks have produced likely the largest single release of methane into the atmosphere ever recorded. Methane is a greenhouse gas with 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide, although it has a shorter lasting effect. 

Russia has been cutting down on the amount of natural gas it supplies to Europe for months as the war in Ukraine has progressed. 

The AP reported that Denmark has said two leaks they were monitoring in international waters stopped over the weekend. 

Retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe, said in an interview on the radio show “The Cats Roundtable” last month that he believes the effect of Russian President Vladimir Putin cutting off Europe’s supply of Russian natural gas will be limited. 

He said only 20 percent of the energy Europe uses is from natural gas, so it will make winter more difficult but not break its resolve to support Ukraine.

Tags James Stavridis Nord Stream leaks Nord Stream pipelines Russia-Ukraine war Russian natural gas Sweden

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