The Blame Game
China this week denied involvement in the damaging of an underwater gas pipeline linking Finland with Estonia and the European Union, an incident that Finnish investigators have labeled as sabotage, Al Jazeera reported.
Earlier this month, Finnish authorities discovered that the Balticconector gas pipeline was leaking and initially suggested that “outside activity” had caused the damage.
Investigators said they are probing whether the Chinese container vessel, Newnew Polar Bear, was involved in the incident, which also saw two telecom cables cut.
Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation noted that a “heavy object” was found near the pipeline, adding that “an external mechanical force” caused the damage.
Finnish and Estonian officials have been communicating with Chinese authorities over the matter.
Beijing has urged the European nations to conduct an “objective, fair and professional” investigation, while rejecting suggestions that China was responsible for the damage.
The pipeline damage comes amid a period of increased concern for the security of energy supplies in the EU following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
The Baltic region is particularly vulnerable because of a limited number of energy links to the rest of the bloc. The recent incident prompted NATO to increase its patrols in the Baltic Sea.