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Germany Tells UN: Nord Stream Inquiry Found Subsea Explosive Traces on Yacht

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

July 12, 2023

©The gas leak at Nord Stream 2 seen from the Danish F-16 interceptor on Bornholm in late September 2022. Photo: Danish Defence

©The gas leak at Nord Stream 2 seen from the Danish F-16 interceptor on Bornholm in late September 2022. Photo: Danish Defence

Germany found traces of subsea explosives in samples taken from a yacht that it suspects "may have been used to transport the explosives" to blow up the Nord Stream gas pipelines, it told the U.N. Security Council in a letter with Sweden and Denmark.

A series of unexplained explosions hit the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines connecting Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea last September in the exclusive economic zones of Germany, Sweden, and Denmark. 

The trio are each conducting separate investigations and sent an update - seen by Reuters - ahead of a meeting of the 15-member Security Council on Tuesday called by Russia, which has complained that it has not been kept informed about the probes.

"None of the investigations has been concluded and at this point, it is still not possible to say when they will be concluded. The nature of the acts of sabotage is unprecedented and the investigations are complex," the three wrote in a joint letter, dated Monday, which included an update on each inquiry.

The joint letter said Germany has been investigating "the suspicious charter of a sailing yacht" that had been rented in a way to "hide the identity of the real charterer." Germany was still investigating the precise course of the boat. 

"It is suspected that the boat in question may have been used to transport the explosives that exploded at the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines," the letter said of Germany's inquiry. "Traces of subsea explosives were found in the samples taken from the boat during the investigation."

"According to expert assessments, it is possible that trained divers could have attached explosives at the points where damage occurred to the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines, which are laid on the seabed at a depth of approx. 70 to 80 meters," it said of Germany's inquiry. 

Moscow has said the West was behind the blasts. Western governments have denied involvement as has Ukraine, which is fighting Russian forces that invaded in February 2022.

Russia failed in March to get the U.N. Security Council to ask for an independent inquiry into the Nord Stream blasts. 

"At this point it is not possible to reliably establish the identity of the perpetrators and their motives, particularly regarding the question of whether the incident was steered by a state or state actor," the letter said of Germany's inquiry.

(Reuters - Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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