STOCKHOLM, March 16. /TASS/. Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said Russia will not be allowed to participate in the European investigation into last year’s sabotage attacks on the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, the Copenhagen Post newspaper reported on Thursday.
"Denmark, Sweden and Germany are all constitutional states, and our investigations can be trusted. We have told the Russians we are investigating it thoroughly. And once we have done so, we will announce the results," the newspaper quoted the minister as saying.
Denmark’s top diplomat said that his country has the authority to choose who will participate in the investigation into the explosions that occurred in its exclusive economic zone. Two out of the four blasts occurred in Danish waters.
The comment came as a response to the latest remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who told journalist Pavel Zarubin in an interview that a Gazprom vessel had found evidence suggesting that one more explosive device may have been planted on the Nord Stream pipeline some 30 kilometers from the site of the previous blast. In his words, Russia invited Denmark to investigate the matter jointly or as part of an international group of experts, to examine the object and to defuse it, if necessary.
The Danish Foreign Ministry confirmed to TASS on Wednesday that it had received Russia’s report on the issue, saying that the country sees no immediate threat to people or ships in the area. The investigation is ongoing, and the government is closely following the situation, the ministry said, adding that additional information will be made available when the government sees fit. According to Danish diplomats, Copenhagen has regularly updated Moscow on the progress of the investigation and responded to its queries.
On September 27, 2022, Nord Stream AG reported unprecedented damage that occurred the day before on three strings of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 offshore gas pipelines. On September 26, 2022, Swedish seismologists registered two explosions on the pipeline routes. The Russian Prosecutor General's Office subsequently opened a criminal case based on charges of international terrorism.
On February 8, US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published an article that claimed, citing anonymous sources, that US Navy divers had planted explosive devices under the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines under the cover of the BALTOPS exercise in June 2022, and that the Norwegians then activated the bombs three months later. According to the journalist, the decision to conduct the operation was made by US President Joe Biden personally, following nine months of discussions with White House national security advisers. The European Commission press service called the conclusions of Hersh’s investigation "speculation" and declined to comment on them. John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the White House National Security Council (NSC), said that there was "no grain of truth" to the investigation and declared that the United States was not involved in the explosions.
On March 7, the New York Times reported, citing American officials, that a certain "pro-Ukrainian group" that acted without the knowledge of US authorities could have committed the sabotage on the gas pipelines. The German publication Zeit came out with an article stating that German investigators had identified the vessel ostensibly used by the saboteurs. The company that rented it allegedly belonged to Ukrainian citizens and was registered in Poland.