Swedish officials on Wednesday, February 7, announced the closure of their investigation into the September 2022 explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines, citing a lack of jurisdiction, AP News reported yesterday.
According to the report, the Swedish decision does not point to the source of the attack, which occurred amid heightened tensions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The decision comes after 16 months of investigation, during which authorities determined "Swedish jurisdiction does not apply," according to Public Prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist.
Although Swedish investigators confirmed explosives were used, they did not assign responsibility. Meanwhile, Denmark and Germany, whose waters also contain sections of the pipelines are continuing their separate investigations.
According to the Swedish Prosecutor, the primary aim of the probe was to determine if Swedish citizens were involved or if Sweden was used to facilitate the attack, adding that the evidence uncovered during their investigation would be handed over to German investigators.
Hans Liwång, a security analyst at the Swedish Defense University, called the closure "a natural decision" due to the lack of a direct threat to Sweden.
"They had said from the start that it's not necessarily a crime against Sweden," Liwång elaborated, further describing the probe as "a fact-finding and evidence-gathering process that could be dropped once they gathered enough information to understand what happened and how."
However, Kenneth Øhlenschlæger Buhl of the Royal Danish Defense College expressed suspicion, suggesting the move could indicate "political involvement" or a desire to avoid further tensions as Sweden seeks NATO membership.
After Sweden dropped its investigation, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would keenly watch what Germany does to investigate the mysterious explosions that stalled the operations of highly-priced Nord Stream Pipelines.
"Of course, now we need to see how Germany itself reacts to this, as a country that has lost a lot in relation to this terrorist attack," the Kremlin's Peskov said as quoted by Reuters news. "It will be interesting to see how thorough the German authorities will be when it comes to this investigation," he added.
Separately, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that Moscow would not keep its findings on the Nord Stream explosions probe a secret.
"Everyone will be happy to know what really happened there, because so much work and hopes for fruitful cooperation (with Europe) were put into it," she told reporters during a weekly briefing.
The multi-billion dollar Nord Stream pipelines were crucial for Russian gas exports to Germany as Nord Stream 1 provided a major supply route until Russia halted deliveries in August 2022.
Nord Stream 2, which never became operational, faced German certification delays before the war began and later had its certification canceled by German authorities after Russia invaded Ukraine.
The investigation's closure leaves the question of who sabotaged the pipelines unanswered, adding to the geopolitical uncertainty surrounding the war in Ukraine, with many hoping the ongoing Danish and German investigations might shed further light on this critical event.