by Leslie Eastman at legalinsurrection.com
The last time we checked into Sweden’s investigation of the Russian Nord Stream pipelines blowing up in the Baltic Sea, the Swedish prosecutors had found traces of explosives at the underwater site and declared that the incident was an act of “gross sabotage.”
Swedish authorities have concluded their investigation, but their conclusions did not offer much detail as to the cause of the destructive undersea detonation.
In Sweden, in whose economic zone the attack partly occurred, the issue remained so delicate that the nation wrapped its investigation in secrecy. It even refused to team up with its closest neighbors, Denmark and Germany, a sign of how nervous the issue was making officials in Stockholm at a moment when it is still maneuvering for acceptance into the NATO military alliance.
On Wednesday, after 16 months of closely guarding their findings, Swedish authorities finally published something — and reached no conclusion at all, at least in public. Sweden’s prosecutor said he was ending his inquiry and had turned over what it had found to the same countries with which the nation had previously declined to cooperate. German officials say their investigation is ongoing.
The Swedish inquiry began with considerable fanfare, as soon as it was clear that an act of sabotage had been responsible. The leading theory was that divers had planted underwater explosives in just the right place to do maximum damage. Because the attack took place partly in Sweden’s economic zone — though in international waters — Sweden opened a criminal investigation.
That investigation ended on Wednesday with what amounted to a press release, and no new findings. The conclusion, or rather the lack of a public one, underscored just how sensitive the issue remains.