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A graphic obtained by Reuters on October 13, 2023, shows where the Balticconnector pipeline between Finland and Estonia was damaged on Sunday, October 8, by an unknown reason. NORSAR/Handout via Reuters

A graphic obtained by Reuters on October 13, 2023, shows where the Balticconnector pipeline between Finland and Estonia was damaged on Sunday, October 8, by an unknown reason. NORSAR/Handout via Reuters

Russian Telecoms Cable Added to List of Damaged Subsea Baltic Infrastructure

Reuters
Total Views: 3491
November 6, 2023
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COPENHAGEN, Nov 6 (Reuters) – Russia is repairing a telecoms cable in the Baltic Sea that suffered an outage last month, Finland said on Monday, adding the problem may be linked to other recent cases of damage to subsea infrastructure in the region.

The 1,000 kilometer (620 miles) Baltika cable belonging to state-owned Rostelecom runs from the region of St. Petersburg to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the southern Baltic Sea.

A gas pipeline linking Finland and Estonia and two other telecoms cables, connecting Estonia to Finland and Sweden, were also damaged last month.

Finnish police believe damage to the Balticconnector gas pipeline was caused by a Chinese container ship dragging its anchor along the seabed but have not concluded whether this was an accident or a deliberate act.

The Finnish coast guard said the Russian outage may be linked to the previously reported damage.

“Looking at the public information available on the Balticconnector pipeline damage, it is possible there is a connection,” Deputy Commander Mikko Hirvi of the Gulf of Finland Coast Guard District said in an emailed statement.

Rostelecom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Russian company first reported the outage of its telecoms cable to Finnish authorities on Oct. 12, Finland’s economy ministry said on Monday, four days after the damage to the gas pipeline and the two other cables was discovered.

The Finnish border guard said on Monday it was monitoring a Russian salvage ship, the Spasatel Karev, that was undertaking repairs to the Baltika cable in Finland’s economic zone.

MarineTraffic vessel tracking data showed the Finnish coastguard vessel Turva near the site where the Russian ship was working. The two were about 34km (18 nautical miles) west of the damaged Balticconnector pipeline.

In September 2022, the Nord Stream gas pipelines connecting Germany and Russia in the Baltic Sea were damaged by explosions that authorities have said were deliberate acts of sabotage, although they have not agreed who was responsible.

(Reporting by Louise Breusch Rasmussen in Copenhagen, additional reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis in OsloEditing by Terje Solsvik, Mark Potter and David Evans)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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