Social Democrats slam Nord Stream approval

Sweden’s decision to allow the Russian-led Nord Stream gas pipeline to pass through its territorial waters has prompted a scathing response from the political opposition.

Social Democrats slam Nord Stream approval

“The pipeline is not in Sweden’s interests, especially considering the project’s far-reaching consequences on the environment,” Urban Ahlin and Anders Ygeman, two prominent Social Democrats, said in an open letter published in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper Friday.

“But it is undoubtedly in Russia’s interests,” they wrote, stressing the timing of the decision “suggests that the Swedish government has in a way” given in to Russia’s “expressions of discontent.”

Ahlin, who serves as the Social Democrats’ foreign affairs spokesperson, and Ygeman who chairs the Riksdag’s environmental committee, said approval of the project amounts to “selling out Swedish environmental interests to the benefit of Russian gas”.

Sweden’s approval came two weeks before an EU-Russia summit to take place in Stockholm and resolved what had become a dispute between Stockholm and Moscow.

The Scandinavian country currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

After years of procrastination, Sweden and Finland gave breakthrough approvals to Nord Stream Thursday, allowing the pipeline to pass through their waters in the Baltic Sea, a crucial step for the project destined to supply Europe with Russian gas.

The $7.4 billion Nord Stream project, which is led by Russian state-run energy giant Gazprom in partnership with Germany’s E.On Ruhrgas and BASF-Wintershall, will run under the Baltic Sea to bring gas from Russia to the European Union.

The pipeline will link the Russian city of Vyborg and Greifswald in Germany over a distance of 1,220 kilometres, going under the Baltic Sea and passing through Russian, Finnish, Swedish, Danish and German waters.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Nord Stream: Investigators link Ukrainian-owned yacht to sabotage, reports claim

German investigators have identified the boat they believe was used in the sabotage attack on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea, according to a report in the Die Zeit newspaper, based on a joint investigation with the broadcasters ARD and SWR. 

Nord Stream: Investigators link Ukrainian-owned yacht to sabotage, reports claim

According to the report, a group of five men and one woman rented the yacht from a Polish-based company with Ukrainian owners. The group all used false passports and their true nationalities are unknown.

Traces of explosives have been found on the yacht, which set sail from the German city of Rostock on September 6th, 20 days before the explosions, which destroyed the two pipelines at a point off the coast of Sweden and just south of the Danish island of Bornholm. 

“The traces lead in the direction of Ukraine,” Die Zeit wrote in its article. “However, investigators have not yet found any evidence as to who ordered the destruction.” 

The newspaper said that, “according to its information”, a western intelligence service had already tipped off its European partners in the autumn that a Ukrainian commando unit had been responsible for the attack, after which there had been “further intelligence indications that a pro-Ukrainian group” was behind the attack. 

In a separate report, the New York Times newspaper reported that US officials had seen new intelligence indicating a “pro-Ukrainian group” was responsible for the sabotage.

The Times report said US officials had no evidence implicating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the pipeline bombing, and it did not identify the source of the intelligence or the group involved.

The attack, the newspaper said, benefitted Ukraine by severely damaging Russia’s ability to reap millions of dollars by selling natural gas to Western Europe. The intelligence suggested that the perpetrators behind the sabotage were “opponents of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia”, the Times report said.

When confronted with the reports, Ukraine denied any involvement.

The country’s presidential adviser Mychajlo Podoljak told ARD that Ukraine “of course had nothing to do with the attacks on Nord Stream-2”. There was, he said, “no confirmation that Ukrainian officials or the military took part in this operation or that people were dispatched to act on their behalf.”

It was still conceivable that Russia was behind it, he said. “There are many more motives and many more uses in this scenario.” 

He later tweeted that Ukraine “has nothing to do with the Baltic Sea mishap”. 

Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Russian president Vladimir Putin, claimed the reports had been fabricated by the true “authors of the attack” as a diversion. 

“How can American officials assume anything without an investigation?” he told the Ria news agency, complaining that Russia was not part of the investigation of this “monstrous crime”.

The Russian embassy in the US blamed the reports on US intelligence services, which it accused of “an attempt to confuse anyone who sincerely wishes to seek out the truth in this flagrant crime”