Around the same time, the Balticconnector gas pipeline lying at the bottom of the Baltic Sea and two telecommunications cables connecting Estonia with Finland and Sweden were damaged. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas stated that the incidents were related, while Finnish police named the main suspect.
On October 10, the Finnish Prime Minister confirmed that the gas pipeline connecting Finland and Estonia had been damaged and the site of the failure had been identified. A fault was also detected in the telecommunications cable between these countries, and previously there was also damage to the cable between Sweden and Estonia. “The damage to both the gas pipe and the communication cable is probably the result of external action,” said Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.
According to Reuters, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas stated that all three incidents are related. – No version of events can be confirmed or excluded – she emphasized.
Finnish investigators pointed out that the incidents were “suspicious” and were not “routine” cases of damage to undersea cables, which occur relatively often. Reuters reports that Finnish police now consider the Hong Kong-flagged container ship NewNew Polar Bear as the main suspect. A large anchor was found near the Balticconnector gas pipeline, and investigators say the pipe was damaged when a container ship dragged it along the bottom. Around this time, telecommunications cables connecting Estonia with Finland and Sweden were also damaged.
A series of suspicious events in the Baltic Sea. NATO increases the number of patrols
Due to the incidents, NATO decided to increase the number of patrols in the Baltic Sea. The Alliance has ordered additional observation and reconnaissance flights, which will include, among others: AWACS early warning aircraft. “A fleet of four minehunters is also being sent to the area,” NATO said. “Since the sabotage of Nord Stream in September 2022, NATO has increased the number of patrols near critical undersea infrastructure,” the statement emphasized.
– We continue to monitor the situation closely and remain in close contact with our Alliance members, Estonia and Finland, and our partner, Sweden, said NATO acting spokesman Dylan White.