Another Baltic pipeline whodunnit!
NATO on Wednesday pledged a “determined” response if recent damage to a critical pipeline linking two of its members is found to have been deliberate.
Earlier this week, the Balticconnector undersea gas and data pipeline between Finland and Estonia suffered interruptions in what local authorities suggested was an intentional attack.
The 100-mile-long pipeline, which traverses the Baltic Sea, opened in 2019 to better integrate Baltic energy markets. It can send gas in either direction between Finland and Estonia depending on their needs.
Finland is NATO’s newest member, having joined the defense alliance in April. The country halted Russian gas imports after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, making the Balticconnector its only source of the fuel, which accounts for about 5% of Finland’s total energy mix.
Investigators are reviewing recent ship activity in the region. Russia on Wednesday mused that it was “disturbed” by the incident. If a state actor is suspected, NATO will have to determine a response that is firm but proportionate.
The incident comes, of course, barely a year after the apparent sabotage of the Russia-Germany Nord Stream gas pipeline at a Baltic Sea location about 500 miles southwest of the Balticcoonnector. That mystery remains unsolved.