(Bloomberg) -- Denmark is salvaging an unidentified object found next to a Russian gas pipeline that was damaged in a blast last September, as investigators continue to seek who was behind the attack.
The operation comes two weeks after German authorities said they searched a vessel that may have transported explosives used in the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines. Several probes are investigating the origin of the attack on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 links, designed to deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
Swiss-based Nord Stream 2 AG — the operator of the pipeline — has agreed to help identify the object, which the Danish Energy Agency said could be a maritime smoke buoy. That kind of device is usually used to send distress signals. The agency said the object doesn’t pose an immediate safety risk, and plans to lift it from the seabed with the help of the nation’s military forces.
Western nations have strengthened security on energy infrastructure following the explosions, which they blame on sabotage. The attack has triggered a wave of accusations, with Russia blaming the US, Ukraine and Poland, calling them “beneficiaries” of the blasts.
READ: Nord Stream Attacks Need Facts, Not Theories: Leonid Bershidsky
Russia positively views Denmark’s decision to involve Nord Stream 2 in the investigation, Tass reported, citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. It is important to determine the nature of the object, which may be linked to the attack on the pipeline, Peskov said, according to the Russian state news agency.
A number of news organizations reported intelligence earlier this month indicating that a pro-Ukrainian group may have been behind the explosion.
The London-based Times said that western security agencies were aware of a Ukrainian link early on, but they hesitated announcing their findings to prevent tension between Kyiv and Berlin. The New York Times said US agencies pointed to sabotage by a group supporting Ukraine, though it cited division over fresh intelligence.
(Updates with Nord Stream 2 operator agreeing to participate in third paragraph)
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