"Nord Stream" investigation: Political considerations override the truth. Sweden hastily ended the investigation and passed the responsibility to Germany and Denmark.

  □ Our reporter in Russia Shi Tianhao

  Swedish prosecutors announced on February 7 that Sweden had decided to end the investigation into the "Nord Stream" natural gas pipeline explosion that had lasted for more than 16 months. "The investigation concluded that Sweden lacked jurisdiction."

Sweden stated that it had transferred relevant investigation materials to Germany, but did not provide a conclusion on the determination of responsibility for the incident.

After Sweden ended its "Nord Stream" investigation, among the three countries that had announced the launch of investigations into the incident, only Germany and Denmark were left to continue the investigation.

Analysts believe that Sweden announced the end of the investigation without reaching a conclusion and transferred the responsibility to other countries. The political considerations behind it have to be thought-provoking. Multiple shirks may prevent the truth of this world-shaking incident from ever being revealed. .

  Sweden's sudden exit

  "Nord Stream" is a natural gas pipeline connecting Russia and Europe.

On September 26, 2022, the "Nord Stream-1" and "Nord Stream-2" natural gas pipelines exploded one after another, causing a large amount of natural gas to leak into the sea near Sweden and Denmark, and the pipelines became inoperable.

After the explosion, officials from Denmark, Germany and Sweden announced that they would launch independent investigations into the incident.

However, the investigation progress has been very slow.

On the first anniversary of the incident, the three countries stated in their submission to the United Nations Security Council that all investigations have not yet been completed, and the completion time is still uncertain.

Now, nearly a year and a half later, the truth has yet to emerge.

  Sweden's hasty announcement of the end of the investigation has triggered speculation in the international community.

In this regard, Sweden explained that the main purpose of the preliminary investigation is to investigate whether Swedish citizens participated in this act of sabotage and whether they used Swedish territory to carry out this act at the risk of harming Swedish interests or Swedish security.

An initial investigation found "no indication that Sweden or Swedish citizens were involved in the attack in international waters."

  Sweden has so far not publicly identified any suspects related to the Nord Stream explosion.

Swedish prosecutors previously stated that the investigation confirmed that the "Nord Stream" pipeline was vandalized, but it is not yet known who did it.

Mats Ljungqvist, the Swedish prosecutor in charge of the case, said in the communique, "I cannot comment further on the conclusions of the Swedish investigation, nor on any suspects in the Swedish investigation."

Swedish security commentator Granlund commented on Swedish television that the decision seemed to be a "rather convenient way out" for Sweden, as all other conceivable solutions resulted in Sweden having to name the possible perpetrators or nation.

  Sweden's withdrawal from the investigation shifted the responsibility to Germany and Denmark.

On the 7th, Sweden stated in a communiqué that preliminary investigations by Denmark and Germany are still continuing. Since international judicial cooperation is generally confidential, it cannot comment further on cooperation.

On the same day, the German Federal Prosecutor's Office and the Federal Criminal Investigative Service, which are responsible for relevant investigations, stated that the end of the Swedish investigation will not affect the German investigation and that "the investigation is still ongoing."

Danish police said they expected to provide more investigative information "shortly".

  Why the truth is so difficult to understand

  So far, the person behind the Nord Stream pipeline explosion has not been revealed. Due to the lack of reliable evidence, the international community has made many speculations about the incident.

Currently, the most widely accepted version points the suspicion at the United States.

  In February last year, Seymour Hersh, a senior American investigative journalist and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism, broke the news online that the Nord Stream pipeline explosion was a secret operation ordered by the White House and carried out by the CIA, and provided details.

In addition to the revelations, various signs before the incident also deepened the outside world's suspicion of the United States.

Long before the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalated in 2022, U.S. President Biden vowed to reporters that the United States had its own methods to end the "Nord Stream" pipeline.

  However, so far, both the United States, Russia and Ukraine have denied sabotaging the Nord Stream pipeline.

  Since the Nord Stream pipeline explosion, Russia has been dissatisfied with the opacity of the investigation and the refusal of Denmark, Germany and Sweden to contact Russia during the investigation.

Russia has repeatedly called for a joint investigation, but has been repeatedly rejected by the three countries.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the three countries were deliberately delaying the investigation and trying to conceal the person behind the explosion.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zakharova said at a press conference on the 7th that Sweden ended its investigation into the "Nord Stream" natural gas pipeline explosion out of fear of revealing the truth.

She said that Sweden has always rejected Russia's request for a thorough investigation of the incident on the grounds that national security is threatened.

  Analysts believe that Sweden launched an investigation and ended it abruptly, which not only eliminated its own suspicion, but also dumped the investigation pressure on other countries.

Swedish security commentator Jorn Granlund pointed out that the investigation of the "Nord Stream" explosion is Sweden's "hot potato" and choosing "let Germany complete the task" is Sweden's "most convenient way out" because all other options will As a result, Sweden must identify the possible perpetrators, which will also make Sweden face follow-up problems such as "taking measures to hold relevant countries accountable."

  There are other considerations behind it

  The US "Washington Post" quoted a European diplomat last year as saying that European and NATO policymakers abide by an unspoken agreement when meeting, that is, "not to talk about 'Nord Stream'." Digging deeper into the truth of the incident may lead to a "Uncomfortable" answer.

The report pointed out that officials in Western countries had no intention of finding out the truth about the explosion because they "would rather not know" who the culprit was than find out that their allies were responsible for the explosion.

  Analysts believe that in the context of Western countries being vague and unable to escape suspicion, Sweden may have political considerations behind its choice to end the investigation, because if the truth is announced, it will be in an embarrassing position and may affect its membership of NATO. .

Sweden and Finland will apply to join NATO at the same time in May 2022.

According to regulations, all NATO member states must unanimously agree to admit new members.

Finland was officially approved to join NATO in April last year.

Currently, Hungary is the only NATO member country that has not ratified Sweden's accession to the treaty.

  Since Turkey approved Sweden's membership of NATO in January this year, Sweden's defense cooperation with NATO countries has continued to accelerate.

Recently, the United States and Sweden signed a new defense cooperation agreement, giving the United States unhindered access to 17 Swedish military bases.

The Swedish government said the agreement paves the way for U.S. military operations in Sweden, including the legal status of U.S. military personnel, access to deployment areas and pre-deployment of military supplies.

  From this point of view, in addition to the bad news that is more difficult to understand the truth of the "Nord Stream" incident, Sweden's recent choices have also put Russia into a more passive situation: NATO has formed a "bilateral + multilateral" approach to Russia, and the Black Sea, Baltic Sea, The three-sea linkage strategic offensive and defensive frontier in the Arctic waters, in the future, the military confrontation between NATO and Russia may intensify in the direction of Northern Europe.

  In the seemingly confusing truth investigation of the "Beixi" incident, political considerations clearly override the law and truth.

The international community is also continuing to pay attention to what Germany and Denmark, which are still investigating the matter, will do and what choices they will make.