Balticconnector and telecom cable incidents are related, Estonian Prime Minister says
The incidents that caused damage to the Balticconnector gas pipeline and telecom cables between Estonia, Finland, and Sweden are related, according to Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.
Kallas met with Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Brussels yesterday, October 26, to discuss the protection of critical infrastructure in the Baltic Sea and to exchange information on the damage to the Balticconnector gas pipeline, failure of the communication cable between Estonia and Finland, and the disruption of the communication cable between Estonia and Sweden.
To remind, seismic signals have been recorded in the vicinity of the Balticconnector gas pipeline indicating a possible explosion had occurred around the time a drop in pressure was observed on October 8.
The event was located approximately 40 kilometers north of Paldiski, Estonia, close to where the Balticconnector pipeline crosses the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) stated that the Newnew Polar Bear vessel, flying the flag of Hong Kong, is believed to have caused the damage to Balticconnector after an anchor was found a few meters from the gas pipeline damage point.
According to Kallas, Estonia is treating the damage to the Baltic Sea submarine infrastructure with the utmost seriousness and it is believed that the three cases are related.
“We have reason to believe that the cases of Balticconnector and the telecommunications cables are linked. We will continue to work closely with Finland and Sweden as well as other allies and partners to establish the facts,” Kallas said.
“It is important that we thoroughly check all the versions on the table and not jump to conclusions. At this stage, no version regarding the Estonian communication cables can be confirmed or refuted.”
The Estonian Prime Minister noted that the cooperation between the three countries in investigating these cases and communicating with allies and partners has been efficient and it is important to continue in the same way.
Kallas noted that, in addition to specific investigations, there was also a broader discussion on ensuring the security of the Baltic Sea.
“We will be discussing the protection of critical infrastructure at the forthcoming European Council. We have also already taken additional measures to ensure the security of the Baltic Sea, in cooperation with our allies in NATO. NATO has sent its ships and planes to the Baltic Sea. This clearly shows the vigilance of the allies and their readiness to act,” Kallas said.
Kallas further stated that the Estonian government had also given specific guidelines to the ministries and a number of additional measures are being planned and have already been implemented together with institutions to increase the level of security monitoring and protection of critical infrastructure both at sea and on land.
“At the same time, it is still important to emphasise that there is no risk of the security of supply of gas or the disruption of the cross-border Internet connection in Estonia,” Kallas concluded.