US offers Finland help in investigating pipeline damage

Natalie Portman
By Natalie Portman 2 Min Read
origin 1US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin answers questions during a press conference after a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group on the sidelines of the two-day NATO Defense Ministerial Council at the Alliance’s headquarters. Chad J. Mcneeley/US Secretary of Defense/dpa

Washington has offered Finland help in investigating damage to the gas pipeline running between Estonia and Finland, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday.

A sudden drop in pressure was recorded in the Balticconnector pipeline on Sunday. The damage to the pipeline was then detected and subsequently taken out of service. The repair will take at least five months.

After hearing reports of attacks on underwater infrastructure, Austin said he contacted his Finnish counterpart.

The investigation was being conducted there, so he didn’t want to speculate on who might have been involved, Austin added, in comments following a NATO meeting.

He was asked if there were any indications that Russia might be behind the leak.

“As they are investigating this, I will not speculate on who may have been involved,” he said.

The United States stands ready to do everything possible to assist Finland in its investigation, he continued.

The pipeline runs for approximately 150 kilometers between Inkoo in Finland and Paldiski in Estonia across the Gulf of Finland. The affected offshore section in the sea is approximately 77 kilometers long.

Finland assumes that the damage was caused by external interference.

The damage to the pipeline comes a year after the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines linking Germany and Russia were severely hit in acts of sabotage in the Baltic Sea.

It is unclear who was behind the attacks, which came as Russia invaded Ukraine and reduced European nations’ dependence on Russian energy.

No external body has ever confirmed that Nord Stream was hit by terrorists, although Russia blamed Ukraine. Many in the West believe Russia could have done it.

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