Inhabitants of the tiny island of Christiansö in the Baltic Sea found themselves in the glare of global media attention this week after reports alleging a boat moored off the rocky outcrop was used to blow up the Nord Stream gas pipelines.
"Practically, the entire world called me yesterday. I got calls from 87 different people," island caretaker Soren Thiim Andersen, the highest authority on the island that is Denmark's easternmost point, told Reuters.
The calls from far-flung journalists followed media reports in the United States and Germany that suggested a pro-Ukrainian group could be responsible for the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines, which happened near Christiansö in September last year.
The operation to place explosives on the seabed was carried out by six people, who sailed from Rostock in northern Germany on Sept. 6 to Christiansö, according to reports by Germany's ARD broadcaster and Zeit newspaper.
The Danish police declined to comment. Andersen told Reuters the Danish police had interviewed local people for information about boats that moored on Christiansö on Sept. 16-18. The police were not the only ones keen for information.
Other islanders on Thursday told Reuters they had been overwhelmed by the sudden interest from journalists from across the world, who wanted to know everything about the boat reported to have been moored on the island.
"It's a bit disturbing. That our small island could be a pawn in such a big political game. And is that even the case, or are they just conspiracy theories?" Anne Marie Koefoed, a resident of 35 years, told Reuters.
Christiansö is part of a small archipelago about 18 km northeast of the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm. A former naval fortress, it remains under the administration of the Danish defense ministry, and has 98 inhabitants.
(Reuters - Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; editing by Barbara Lewis)