After Tuesday’s explosions at Nord Stream gas pipelines near Sweden and Denmark, Finland has stepped up surveillance in the Gulf of Finland, Finland’s border guard said on Wednesday.
The Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline starts from Vyborg, a town near the Finnish border, while the Nord Stream 2 starts from Ust-Luga, near Estonia, but none of the pipes touch the territorial waters of Finland or Estonia. The Balticconnector gas pipeline, important for the Finnish energy system, connects Estonia and Finland.
Following the explosion, the authorities calmed the atmosphere by informing that preventive actions had been prepared in the event of sabotage.
Meanwhile, Finnish border guards have stepped up surveillance of ship traffic and patrols around pipelines. Nothing abnormal was reported during the day on Wednesday. However, the incidents in the southern Baltic Sea have served as a reminder of how Finnish trade depends on peaceful merchant shipping.
For a long time, Finland, in its naivety, unlike the Baltic States, Sweden and Denmark, viewed Nord Stream pipelines only as environmental and economic issues and avoided safety issues, at least until now.
Politicians now in government want to act.
At a government press conference late Wednesday evening (September 28), for example, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) said she was in no doubt that the three explosions were not accidents and that they had likely to have been committed by a state actor. The events must be thoroughly investigated, Marin said.
Threats to critical infrastructure have now been realised, Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen (Centre) said, but there does not appear to be an imminent military threat to Finland.
The question was also approached from an environmental angle. But Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green), for example, spoke of poisonous gases and mines buried in the seabed of the Baltic Sea, which make investigations and repair work dangerous.
(Pekka Vantinen | EURACTIV.com)