An undersea telecommunications cable linking Sweden and Estonia in the Baltic Sea has suffered damage, according to Sweden’s Civil Defense Minister. This incident marks the second occurrence of cable damage in the region within the last month. The extent of the damage is described as partial, rather than a complete cable break, and the cable is still operational. The cause of the damage remains unknown, with the Swedish government unable to assess the exact reason for the incident. The damage occurred outside of Sweden’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone.
It is important to note that the damage to the cable coincided with the damage sustained by the Balticconnector gas pipeline and a telecommunications cable between Estonia and Finland on October 8. NATO, the US-led military alliance that Finland recently joined, has promised a unified and determined response if an investigation confirms that saboteurs were responsible for the damage. Finland has not ruled out the possibility of a “state actor” being behind the incident and is currently reviewing vessel traffic in the area at the time of the suspected attack.
Concerns about the vulnerability of undersea cables and infrastructure in the Baltic Sea have been raised by the Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson. He emphasized the crucial role of these connections, which transfer data and supply energy between countries in the region. Monitoring and securing the waters in the area pose significant challenges due to the sheer volume and the ability to deny any activities taking place under the sea surface, according to Rear Admiral Ewa Ann-Sofi Skoog Haslum, the head of Sweden’s navy.
This incident comes in the wake of last year’s sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, which supply oil and natural gas from Russia to Germany. The culprits responsible for those incidents have yet to be identified. Pulitzer-winning journalist Seymour Hersh published a report earlier this year, claiming that the United States collaborated with the Norwegian government to destroy the pipelines through a covert CIA operation. However, these claims have been strongly denied by Washington. Another theory suggests that a team of Ukrainian commandos attempted to carry out the sabotage with the assistance of the CIA but were ultimately instructed to abort the plan.
The damage to the undersea telecommunications cable is another concerning development in the region, highlighting the vulnerability of critical infrastructure. Efforts to investigate the cause of the damage and identify those responsible will be crucial in ensuring the stability and security of the Baltic Sea region.