Sweden explains rejection of joint Nord Stream probe
Stockholm has rejected a plan to set up an official joint investigation team together with Germany and Denmark to look into the explosions that damaged the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in late September, Reuters has reported, citing a Swedish investigator. Sweden reportedly argued that its own findings are too sensitive to share even with other EU nations.
The EU’s agency for criminal justice cooperation, Eurojust, recently came up with a proposal to establish a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to launch a probe into the Nord Stream explosions, Reuters said, adding that Sweden blocked the initiative. On Friday, Mats Ljungqvist, a Swedish prosecutor involved in the nation’s probe into the incident, told the news agency that this development would impose unwanted obligations on his nation.
“This is because there is information in our investigation that is subject to confidentiality directly linked to national security,” Ljungqvist said, adding that his nation is already cooperating with Germany and Denmark on the matter anyway.
According to the prosecutor, establishing a JIT would involve signing a legally binding information-sharing agreement. Eurojust says on its website that a JIT mechanism indeed includes a legal agreement between the involved parties for the purposes of conducting criminal investigations.
Earlier, citing “security circles,” Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine said that Sweden considered the sensitivity level of its own probe’s findings to be “too high to share them with other countries.” News portal Tagesschau, owned by the German ARD broadcaster, also reported on Friday that Germany, Sweden, and Denmark initially wanted to investigate the incident together but “that’s not the case now.”
According to Tagesschau, Denmark also eventually opposed the idea of a joint probe. Now, all three nations will conduct their own separate investigations, it added. Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson denied the reports, however, adding that “we are working together with Germany and Denmark on this issue.”
Earlier, all three nations refused to grant Russia access to the probe, prompting Moscow to summon their ambassadors. Russia also said it would not recognize the results of any probe unless its specialists were allowed to participate. Andersson said on Monday that Stockholm would not share its investigation results with Moscow.
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were damaged and rendered inoperable following a series of powerful underwater explosions off the Danish island of Bornholm. No nation conducting a probe into the incident has officially named any suspects that could have been involved in the alleged attacks on the pipelines.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously hinted at a potential “beneficiary.”
“One can now force the liquefied natural gas from the US on to European countries on a much larger scale,” he said earlier this week. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the incidents a “tremendous opportunity” for Europe “to once and for all remove dependence on Russian energy.”