Denmark Ends Nord Stream Probe With No Charges

The country found “deliberate sabotage” but wouldn’t continue probe to find out who was responsible. It’s the second U.S. ally in the past month to end an investigation into the pipeline explosions.

Denmark this week became the latest country to close its investigation into the Nord Stream pipelines underwater explosions in September 2022 that ended gas supplies from Russia to Germany.

Danish authorities said Monday they found “deliberate sabotage” of the Russian and European-owned pipelines, but wouldn’t go further in their probe to confirm who was behind the blasts.

“The assessment is that there are not sufficient grounds to pursue a criminal case,” said the Danish police, prompting criticism from Russian officials and other critics.

Both Russia and the United States have been blamed for the explosions seven months after Russia invaded Ukraine. 

The leaks — which experts said led to the single largest release of methane gas due to human activity — were discovered beneath the Baltic Sea, off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm. Seismic institutes found that two explosions had occurred underwater just before the leaks were recorded.

Russian energy giant Gazprom owns a majority stake in the pipelines, with German, Dutch, and French companies also owning interests. Weeks before the leaks were discovered, Russia had intensified tensions in Europe by cutting gas supplies in suspected retaliation for sanctions against Moscow.

The U.S. was a longtime critic of the Nord Stream pipelines, arguing they would increase European dependence on Russia for energy. 

Just before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden said in a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that a Russia offensive would push the U.S. to “bring an end to” the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

But the U.S. has denied involvement in the explosions, calling veteran journalist Seymour Hersh’s February 2023 report of U.S. sabotage “false and complete fiction.”

Hersh reported, based on an anonymous source who had “direct knowledge of the operational planning,” that Biden had authorized U.S. Navy divers to plant remotely triggered explosives that destroyed the Nord Stream pipelines, enlisting the help of the Norwegian Navy and secret service. 

In March 2023, weeks after Hersh’s report was released, the U.S. and several Western allies abstained in a defeated United Nations Security Council resolution to launch an international probe, favored by Russia, into the Nord Stream explosions. 

March 27, 2023: Members of the U.N. Security Council abstaining from a Russian resolution to investigate sabotage of Nord Stream pipeline. Photo: UN Photo / Manuel Elías.

Earlier this month, Sweden concluded its investigation, saying the case did not fall under its jurisdiction and noting that they had given “material that can be used as evidence” to German authorities for their probe. Swedish prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said that the “primary assumption is that a state is behind it.”

The German federal prosecutor’s investigation is ongoing.

Journalist Thomas Fazi suggested U.S. allies have dropped their probes because they are “terrified of actually finding the culprit.”

The question of who caused the Nord Stream gas leaks, said author Tony Norfield, “has troubled Swedish and Danish investigators so much, they have closed their inquiries. Just in case they uncover something embarrassing.”

Main photo: A Royal Danish Air Force officer testing the wind during joint military exercises with the U.S. at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in 2019 © U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua J. Garcia.

Source: Consortium News.

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