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Russian Telecoms Cable Damaged Before The Baltic Gas Pipeline

Rostelecom, a Russian state company, states that a fibre optic cable under the Baltic was damaged last month. The cable was roughly 28 kilometres from a gas pipeline connecting Finland and Estonia. The gas line was damaged earlier this month.


Finnish investigative officials believe an anchor dragged across the sea bed ruptured the pipeline. They assume that a Chinese container ship is responsible for the damage.


Officials believe that damage to communication cables is an attempt to sabotage the country. Thus, security has increased substantially in the Baltic Sea regarding sub-sea cables and pipelines. The attack on Ukraine and the blowing up of the Russian Nord Stream pipelines led to new security measures. However, officials have not determined who is responsible for the attacks. 


In Rostelecom’s statement, they did not give up what caused damage to the cable. The cable connected the Russian Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad with the rest of the country. 


Officials noted that the location and timing of the cable damage were close to the damage to the gas pipeline. It has raised additional security concerns for several other Baltic Sea cables.


The Rostelecom Baltic Sea cable suffered damage on October 7, 2023. It was before the Baltic Connector pipeline on October 8, 2023. The optic cable was situated a mere 28 kilometres away from the pipeline. 


The Finnish police led the investigation into the Baltic Connector pipe rupture. They have named the container hailing from Hong Kong the Newnew Polar Bear. The container is being considered the prime suspect in the investigation. A large anchor was near the damage; officials claim that the ship dragged it across the sea bed, thus leading to the pipeline rupturing. 


The pipeline operator, Gasgrid, states that the line will remain out of commission until April. The Chinese government has agreed to provide the necessary evidence according to international laws. 


There were two pipelines connecting Estonia, Finland, and Sweden. They also suffered significant damage. A specialized vessel is repairing the cable and can function by mid-November. 


The company claims the users were unaffected since terrestrial routes and backup satellites transferred data. 


Various Incidents Regarding Baltic Pipelines Are Related

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas claims that the Baltic pipeline incidents involving Estonia, Finland, and Sweden are related. Finland is conducting a risk assessment following the destruction of the Baltic Connector pipeline. 


The pipeline will be out of commission for the winter season of 2023/2024. Currently, the risk level is two on a three-level scale. The Finnish administration is not concerned with the available gas supply.


Pipeline Damage- Accident Or Sabotage? 

Officials are concerned about whether the recent Baltic pipeline incidents are due to negligence or deliberate efforts. A top-level Finnish official stated this to Reuters, an online news agency. They claim that these incidents while occurring routinely, are suspicious and abnormal.

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