Swedish prosecutor hopes to conclude Nord Stream enquiry by year-end

The Swedish prosecutor investigating the sabotage in September last year of the Nord Stream pipelines hopes to decide whether to bring any charges before the end of this year.

He told Reuters last week that the proceedings were at “a sensitive stage”.

There were several unexplained underwater explosions that ruptured the Nord Stream 1 and newly-built Nord Stream 2 pipelines that linked Russia and Germany across the Baltic Sea. The blasts occurred in the economic zones of Sweden and Denmark. It was quickly agreed that the sabotage was deliberate, but zero agreement about who was responsible, with various suspects including Russia, Ukraine and the US.

Mats Ljungqvist said in an interview that “we hope to conclude the investigation shortly but there is still a lot to do and nothing will happen for the next four weeks”, adding that “by ‘conclude’, I mean that we close the investigation or take a decision to bring charges against someone,” noting that the ambition was to reach a decision before the end of the year.

Ljungqvist said he was working with German authorities.

In April this year Ljungqvist had said that the main scenario was a state actor, rather than an individual terror attack. Confirming the identity of the perpetrators could prove difficult, as well as politically sensitive.

Germany has said its investigators raided a ship in January that may have been used to transport the explosives used to blow up the pipelines. German media reported the boat could have been used by a small Ukrainian or pro-Ukrainian group. However, at the IUMI conference last week in Edinburgh, Dominick Donald, senior adviser at UK-based security consultant Herminius, said that anyone who thought the responsible party was anyone but Russia was deluded.