Was the Finnish-Estonian gas pipeline sabotaged?
Finland and Estonia are investigating damage to the Baltic-connector underwater gas pipeline, which runs between the two countries, after a sudden drop in pressure at the weekend. The Finnish government has said the damage may have been deliberate and was probably caused by external activity. The police specified that it was the result of a mechanical force of unknown origin. Commentators ask who or what could be behind the incident.
Moscow has means and motive
Helsingin Sanomat sees many questions:
“The responsible party has not yet been named, and there will probably never be absolute certainty, but there is only one suspect. At the government’s press conference, there were many questions about Russia’s potential culpability, but no answers. ... Russia has both the means and a motive for the attack. Finland and Estonia have been staunch supporters of Ukraine since the Russian invasion and have provided many weapons. It is also possible that Russia wants to demonstrate its resolve and strength to Finland, which applied for Nato membership after Russia began its war of aggression.”
If Russia is to blame, it would be a sign of weakness, says Keskisuomalainen:
“For now, we have to assume that Russia could be behind this. But it could also be that what happened was caused by an external factor. Finland should take a calm look at the situation. Russia should not be given the impression that the Finns are somehow worried about the incidents on the seabed. They’re not. If Russia is behind all this, it’s more a sign of Russian weakness. Our neighbouring country is incapable of bigger actions, so it’s behaving like a five-year-old vandal.”
Russia testing limits
This makes Sweden’s accession to Nato all the more pressing, warns Dagens Nyheter:
“Russia is now clearly testing Nato’s limits. The nonchalance with which Ukrainian buildings and infrastructure on the border with Nato member Romania are being bombed is a glaring example. An attack on sensitive infrastructure connecting Nato members Finland and Estonia would undoubtedly be another example of this testing of limits. This says most of what we need to know about the security situation in Sweden’s immediate vicinity and underlines once more how crucial it is that the Swedish Nato process achieves its goal as quickly as possible.”