50 metres of Nord Stream pipeline in Baltic Sea destroyed by explosions: videos, police
- In footage published by a Swedish newspaper, twisted metal and a huge tear can be seen 80 metres down in Baltic Sea
- Pipelines at centre of geopolitical tension amid war in Ukraine, sanctions and Moscow cutting gas supplies to Europe
At least 50 metres of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline has been destroyed or buried under the sea floor, following an explosion assumed to be from sabotage, underwater images published on Tuesday showed.
Danish police meanwhile said their inspections of the pipelines 1 and 2 in the Danish economic zone of the Baltic Sea confirmed the damage was “caused by powerful explosions”.
In videos published by Swedish newspaper Expressen, a massive tear and twisted metal can be seen on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline 80 metres down in the Baltic Sea.
Expressen said the videos, filmed on Monday, show how over 50 metres (165 feet) of the pipeline is either missing or buried under the seabed, and long tears can be observed on the seabed leading up to the burst pipe.
“It is only an extreme force that can bend metal that thick in the way we are seeing,” Trond Larsen, drone operator with the Norwegian company Blueye Robotics, told Expressen.
Larsen, who piloted the submersible drone which captured the video, also said you could also see “a very large impact on the seabed around the pipe”.
The two Nord Stream pipelines were damaged by explosions under the Baltic Sea at the end of September, causing four leaks.
While the leaks were in international waters, two of them were in the Danish exclusive economic zone and two of them in the Swedish.
Swedish authorities announced on October 6 that they had conducted an underwater inspection of the site and collected “pieces of evidence”, and that the inspection backed up suspicions of probable sabotage.
Meanwhile, Danish police on Tuesday said they had completed several inspections of the leaks in the Danish zone, together with the intelligence service PET.
“The inspections have confirmed that there has been extensive damage to Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the Danish exclusive economic zone and that the damage was caused by powerful explosions,” they said in a statement.
Danish police also said a joint investigation team would be set up with PET to continue the investigation, but that it was too early to say what international cooperation would be possible with Sweden and Germany.
“It is very serious, and this is by no means a coincidence. It doesn’t just seem planned, but very well planned,” Danish Defence Minister Morten Bødskov told broadcaster TV2.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that the investigation was being “tailored” to blame Russia.
“This is absurd,” he added. Moscow has accused Western countries of being behind the explosions of the pipelines, built to carry Russian gas to Germany, while Ukraine has said Russia was responsible.
“Russia would not blow up its own pipeline,” Peskov said.
“We can only express regret that this entire investigation is taking place in a very, very closed setting ... without the participation of the Russian side, which is a co-owner of this pipeline.”
Moscow earlier expressed “bewilderment” over its exclusion from investigations and opened its own probe.
The pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Although the pipelines were not in operation, they contained gas before falling victim to the apparent sabotage.
Additional reporting by Associated Press