A major pipeline located in the Baltic Sea was damaged via "mechanical" means, Estonia's defence minister claims. (EPA-EFE/VALDA KALNINA)


Baltic Sea gas pipeline damaged via ‘mechanical’ means, minister claims


A major pipeline located in the Baltic Sea was damaged via “mechanical” means, Estonia’s defence minister has claimed.

The Balticonnector, along with a connected telecoms cable, sustained damage after an unknown incident over the weekend of October 7-8. Officials in both Finland and Estonia now suspect it may be a case of sabotage.

“It can clearly be seen that these damages are caused by quite heavy force,” Estonian defence minister Hanno Pevkur said regarding the pipeline.

He added that while investigators had yet to ascertain what exactly had happened, “At the moment it rather seems that it had been [damaged by] mechanical impact or mechanical destruction.”

Finland is also investigating possible skulduggery in relation to the damaged pipeline. The country’s President Sauli Niinisto suggested that some sort of external involvement appeared probable.

“It is likely that damage to both the gas pipeline and the communication cable is the result of outside activity,” he said.

“The cause of the damage is not yet clear, the investigation continues in co-operation between Finland and Estonia.”

Although both nations have insisted that investigations remain ongoing, fingers have already been pointed at Russia in relation to the incident.

According to a report by Estonian state broadcaster ERR, a Russian cargo ship had spent the past weekend at the site where the pipeline was damaged.

Russia is not the only nation that has been accused of damaging pipelines. Ukraine also has also found itself on the wrong end of sabotage accusations in recent months.

According to in-depth reporting by Der Spiegel, Ukraine appeared to be the prime suspect behind the Nord Stream pipeline attacks in September 2022.

While there were initial claims either Russia or the United States were at fault in that case, the German news outlet claimed investigators are now slowly centring in on Ukraine as being the responsible party.

“All the evidence points to Kyiv,” the magazine wrote. “Investigators are certain that the saboteurs were in Ukraine before and after the attack.”

It claimed that the investigation was not being pursued with much enthusiasm. Authorities in Germany are reluctant to declare Ukraine as responsible due to potentially uncomfortable geopolitical ramifications, according to Der Spiegel.