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Estonia Says Damage to Finland Pipeline Was Caused by People

But it's unclear if it was deliberate.

In this picture provided by The Finnish Border Guard, Finnish Border Guard's offshore vessel Turva on patrol at sea, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023 near the place where damaged Balticconnector gas pipeline is pinpointed at the Gulf of Finland.
In this picture provided by The Finnish Border Guard, Finnish Border Guard's offshore vessel Turva on patrol at sea, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023 near the place where damaged Balticconnector gas pipeline is pinpointed at the Gulf of Finland.
Finnish Border Guard/Lehtikuva via AP

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Damage to an undersea gas pipeline and telecom cable connecting Finland and Estonia was caused by people but it remains unclear who was behind it and whether it was deliberate, Estonian officials said Friday.

Estonian and Finnish investigators are looking into vessels that were in the area at the time earlier this month, but it is "too soon to indicate a culprit" or say if the damage was "deliberate and designed to impair critical infrastructure," the Estonian government said in a statement.

Finnish and Estonian operators noticed an unusual drop in pressure in the Balticconnector pipeline on Oct. 8 and subsequently shut down the gas flow. Two days later, the Finnish government said there was damage both to the pipeline and the telecom cable between the two NATO countries.

A repaired cable will hopefully be in place by next week, Estonia said Friday.

The 77-kilometer-long (48-mile-long) Balticconnector pipeline runs across the Gulf of Finland from the Finnish city of Inkoo to the Estonian port of Paldiski. It is bi-directional, transferring natural gas between Finland and Estonia depending on demand and supply. Most of the gas that was flowing in the pipeline before its closure was going from Finland to Estonia, from where it was forwarded to Latvia.

The 300 million euro ($318 million) pipeline, largely financed by the European Union, started commercial operations at the beginning of 2020.

Another undersea telecom cable running between Estonia and Sweden was believed to have sustained partial damage at the same time, and the government in Tallinn said Friday that damage may also have been man-made but that it remains to be determined.

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