Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said she has “reason to believe” the multiple cases of damage to Baltic Sea critical infrastructure earlier this month are related to each other.
Kallas met with Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Brussels on Thursday, ahead of the European Council summit, to discuss the undersea infrastructure investigation.
Earlier this month, the Balticconnector gas pipeline — linking NATO members Finland and Estonia — was ruptured, along with two underwater telecommunication cables, connecting Estonia to Finland and Sweden. The three incidents are likely to be related, Kallas said, though she did not publicly provide evidence for why Estonia believes the incidents are all linked.
“Cooperation between the three countries in investigating cases and engaging with allies and partners has been effective and it is important that we continue to do so in the same way,” the Estonian prime minister said in an official statement, adding that it’s important to “not rush to premature conclusions.”
Finnish authorities confirmed this week that they suspect that Chinese vessel Newnew Polar Bear caused the rupture in the Balticconnector gas pipeline, after finding an anchor on the floor of the Baltic Sea during a preliminary investigation. The object is believed to have caused the rupture to the pipeline.
On Thursday, Orpo said Finland is cooperating with China to determine the exact role of the ship, and said he plans to ask for EU funding to repair the Balticconnector.
In the meantime, NATO has stepped up its surveillance in the Baltic Sea, boosting patrols.
“It remains important to emphasize that there is no risk [to] security of gas supply or interruption of cross-border internet connection in Estonia,” Kallas said.