Nord Stream blast inquiries ongoing, Denmark, Sweden, Germany tell UN

FILE PHOTO: Gas bubbles from the Nord Stream 2 leak reaching surface of the Baltic sea in the area shows disturbance of well over one kilometre diameter near Bornholm

By Michelle Nichols and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen

UNITED NATIONS/COPENHAGEN (Reuters) -Investigations by Denmark, Germany and Sweden into explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines have not yet concluded, the three countries said on Tuesday as the U.N. Security Council met to discuss the September incident.

Russia, which called for the meeting, wants the 15-member council to ask for an independent inquiry into the blasts on the pipelines connecting Russia and Germany, which spewed gas into the Baltic Sea and worsened a European energy shortage.

Denmark, Germany and Sweden told the Security Council in a joint letter that the "Russian authorities have been informed regarding the ongoing investigations" by their national authorities, which had so far established that the damage to the pipelines was caused by "powerful explosions due to sabotage."

"These investigations have not yet been concluded. At this point, it is not possible to say when they will be concluded," the letter said. "The authorities of Denmark, Germany and Sweden have been in dialogue regarding the investigation of the gas leaks, and the dialogue will continue to the relevant extent."

They said the consequences from the leaks in terms of greenhouse gas emissions were "substantial and worrisome."

Russia has asked U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs, of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, to brief the Security Council at Tuesday's meeting.

Moscow has maintained, without providing evidence, that the West was behind the blasts affecting the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines - multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects that carried Russian gas to Germany.

"There is no doubt about the motive of the crime, nor its perpetrator, nor the way in which the crime was committed," Russia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya told the Security Council, according to RIA news agency.

"This is even more than the smoking gun that all American detectives dream of finding in Hollywood blockbusters."

Earlier this month, the White House dismissed a blog post by a U.S. investigative journalist alleging the United States was behind explosions as "utterly false and complete fiction."

Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, has said the aim was to put the proposal for an independent inquiry to a vote at the Security Council by the end of the week. A council resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, China or Russia to pass.

Russia's TASS news agency reported that China's permanent representative to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, told the Security Council that Beijing supports Moscow's call for the inquiry.

A vote could coincide with meetings of the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council to mark the first anniversary of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. The 193-member General Assembly is likely to vote on Thursday to again demand Moscow withdraw its troops and call for a halt to hostilities.

(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Copenhagen and Michelle Nichols at United Nations; Additional reporting by David Ljunggren and Lidia Kelly;Editing by Alex Richardson, Matthew Lewis and Lincoln Feast.)