By Leila Nezirevic
Finland should expect more such attacks after confirming on Tuesday that damage to a gas pipeline and telecommunications cable between Finland and Estonia was probably caused deliberately, said the nation’s prime minister.
“According to preliminary assessment, the observed damage could not have occurred as a result of normal use of the pipe or pressure fluctuations. It is likely that the leak is the result of external activity,” Petteri Orpo told a news conference.
“That’s why preparedness has been increased and cooperation is carried out in a network-like manner, both within the country’s borders and with our foreign partners.”
Orpo declined to comment on who might be behind the damage.
He called the incident worrying, but added that Finland’s gas supply or telecommunication connections were not significantly affected.
“This is not an act that paralyzes us,” Orpo said.
NATO could help investigate
The Baltic connector marine gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia was shut down early on Sunday due to an unusual drop in pressure which resulted in a leak in the subsea gas pipeline.
A fault was also found in the communications cable between Finland and the Baltic state.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto also said in a press release that the damage was caused deliberately by external activity.
After discussing the leaks with the president, the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier that NATO stands ready to support both allies.
“It is likely that damage to both the gas pipeline and the communications cable is the result of outside activity.
“The cause of the damage is not yet clear, the investigation continues in cooperation between Finland and Estonia,” Niinisto said in a statement.
Finnish authorities stated that they will continue to investigate the leaks and the damage to the telecommunications cable.
Niinisto said he is in close contact with allies and partners and that “NATO is ready to assist in investigations.”
Last September, the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea suffered damage through reported sabotage, leading some to claim Russia was responsible amid European efforts to cut its gas imports from Moscow.
Russia denied any involvement.