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Finland points to deliberate damage to underwater gas pipeline

by Elsa Court October 10, 2023 8:53 PM 2 min read
An employee operating a valve at a compression station of the Balticconnector marine gas pipeline in Inga, Finland on Nov. 5, 2019. (Mikko Stig/Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images)
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The damage to an underwater gas pipeline and communications cable between Finland and Estonia, which was discovered on Oct. 8, was likely a deliberate act, the government of Finland announced on Oct. 10.

Posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said that "the cause of the damage is not yet clear," but is likely "the result of external activity.”

Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo told reporters at a news conference the same day that the damage “could not have occurred as a result of normal use of the pipe or pressure fluctuations."

The pipeline was found to be leaking gas in Finnish waters of the Baltic Sea and shut off on Oct. 8. A nearby telecommunications cable was also damaged.

The damage is "worrying," Orpo said.

The 77 kilometer (48 mile) pipeline, known as the Balticconnector, transfers gas between Finland and Estonia.

The pipeline is bi-directional, meaning it can supply either country depending on demand.

The joint Finnish and Estonian investigation is ongoing, according to Niinisto.

"We are also in contact with our allies and partners," Niinisto said, including NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who he held a call with earlier on Oct. 10.

Finnish media reported that the damage to the pipeline is severe and will take several months to repair.

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