Finland is stepping up surveillance of the Nord Stream and Balticconnector gas pipelines
Surveillance in the Gulf of Finland has been stepped up after explosions near Nord Stream gas pipelines near Sweden and Denmark on Tuesday, the Finnish Border Guard Agency said on Wednesday (September 28).
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline comes from Vyborg, a town near the Finnish border, while the Nord Stream 2 pipeline comes from Ust-Luga near Estonia.
None of the pipelines touch the territorial waters of Finland or Estonia. The Balticconnector gas pipeline, which plays an important role in the Finnish energy system, connects Estonia and Finland.
The authorities calmed the situation by informing that preventive measures were planned in case of sabotage.
Finnish border guards have increased surveillance of maritime traffic and patrols around pipelines. No unusual incidents were reported during Wednesday. However, the incidents in the southern Baltic Sea have served as a reminder of how dependent Finland’s trade is on calm shipping.
Unlike the Baltic States, Sweden and Denmark, Finland has long viewed the Nord Stream pipelines as purely environmental and economic problems, dodging safety concerns. Today, reality has hit hard, undermining the decision makers of the past.
At the government press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Sanna Marin had no doubt that the three explosions were not accidents, but in all probability the work of a state actor. These events need to be thoroughly investigated, Ms Marin said.
According to Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen, known threats to critical infrastructure have now been confirmed. However, there does not appear to be any immediate military threat to Finland.
Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto also spoke about the environmental dimension. The seabed of the Baltic Sea harbors toxic gases and mines that make research and repair work dangerous.
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