Finland and Estonia are still investigating, including the possible role of a Chinese and Russian vessel
Investigations by Estonia indicate that damage to the subsea cable in the Baltic, which connect it to Sweden have established that it was due to human activity. The Swedish government claims it is related to the damaged Balticonnector gas pipe and telecoms cable between Estonia and Finland which occurred at about the same time.
Damage to the subsea gas pipeline and telecoms cable connecting Finland and Estonia was discovered on 8 October. Finnish investigators think it could have been sabotage and Helsinki is continuing to investigate. Meanwhile, Tallinn’s enquiries into the damaged cable are ongoing.
Carl-Oskar Bohlin, Minister for Civil Defence, said in a statement, reported by Reuters, “It has been confirmed that the cable has been damaged through external force or tampering”.
He added, “the damage to the gas pipeline and communications cable between Finland and Estonia is related to the damage to the communications cable between Sweden and Estonia”.
Sweden’s government did not give more details about what linked the two incidents, while Estonia took a more cautious approach. It said damage to the Finland-Estonia links had been caused by human actions.
The Estonian State prosecutor, Triinu Olev, elaborated, “If we establish through procedural actions that the damage to the communication cable between Estonia and Sweden is also caused by human actions, we will expand the ongoing criminal proceedings to find out these circumstances as well.”
Estonian investigators looking into the the telecoms cable incidents, said they are looking at two ships, the NewNew Polar Bear container carrier and Russia’s Sevmorput.
Russia and China have both denied any wrong-doing.
Finnish investigators said the damage detected this month could have been an act of sabotage, but are yet to conclude whether it was accidental or deliberate. Their investigation too is focused on the Chinese NewNew Polar Bear container vessel, according to Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
NATO is stepping up patrols in the Baltic Sea after the incidents amid concerns about the security of energy supplies in the Nordic region. Last year, the Nord Stream gas pipe which crosses the Baltic Sea between Germany and Russia was damaged. German authorities say the damage was sabotage although by whom is still unknown.