Estonia, Finland, and the United Kingdom Commence Baltic Sea Training for Submarine Infrastructure Protection
From December 4th to 5th, Finland, the United Kingdom, and Estonia are conducting exercises in the Baltic Sea focused on monitoring and safeguarding submarine infrastructure, as well as countering submarine military threats. This information was reported by the Finnish Navy.
The NATO maritime exercises involve the Finnish Navy, the Maritime Guard of the Finnish Gulf Coast Guard (which is part of the Finnish Armed Forces), the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, and the Estonian Navy. According to Janne Huusko, the Chief of the General Staff of Finland, the activation of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) emergency response plan and the increased NATO maritime presence in the Baltic Sea are comprehensive efforts to enhance control and protection of submarine infrastructure.
These exercises are part of a broader strategy to strengthen surveillance and presence in the Baltic Sea region, in accordance with the decision of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JFC) – a coalition of ten Northern European states led by the United Kingdom.
Huusko emphasized that these training sessions, along with the reinforcement of NATO maritime presence in the Baltic Sea, represent a collective endeavor to strengthen control and protection of submarine infrastructure. He stated, "After the events with Balticconnector, many Baltic Sea countries intensified cooperation and implemented national measures for maritime surveillance. These exercises are another demonstration of our ability to control and protect infrastructure crucial to us, together with allies."
As a reminder, Balticconnector is a two-way gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia, connecting the gas networks of these countries. It suffered damage on October 8, 2023, around 02:00 local time. On October 10, 2023, the Finnish government announced that the pipeline damage may have been intentional and caused by "external activity." A telecommunication cable near the pipeline was also damaged. The leak is being investigated by the Finnish Border Guard and the Security and Intelligence Service of Finland. The Norwegian Seismological Institute NORSAR reported a "probable explosion" approximately 40 km north of Paldiski (roughly where Balticconnector and Nord Stream intersect) on October 8 at 01:20 local time.
The Gaze reported that there are suspicions within political and military circles in Finland that Russia may be involved in the gas leak incident related to the Balticconnector pipeline.