Finnish media said on Tuesday that the country's navy had spotted an underwater object near Helsinki. The navy also fired some depth charges to warn it off. Finland's Defense Minister Carl Haglund said that the target could have been a submarine.
According to Helsingin Sanomat and YLE, the unidentified object was first spotted on Monday and again on Tuesday morning. The depth charges were fired into water by hand from the navy ships and there is currently an operation underway to clarify whether the underwater object is still near the Finnish coast – many navy ships and helicopters are currently in the area near Helsinki.
Finland's Ministry of Defense issued a statement in which it said that as part of the tasks to protect territorial integrity, the maritime surveillance system alerted the Finnish Navy of a possible underwater target around midday on Monday. The possible target was located close to the limit of territorial waters off Helsinki. A search was then conducted by surface vessels and a new detection was made in the search area early on Tuesday. "On the basis of the detections, navy vessels fired handheld underwater depth charges as a warning."
In October last year, Sweden had its biggest military operation since the Cold War, when an unidentified object, believed to be a Russian submarine, was spotted near Stockholm.
A former Soviet officer Eduard Oganjan, who served on Soviet nuclear submarines, told Estonian media after the Swedish incident that Russian submarines roam free in the Baltic Sea.
Kaarel Kaas from the International Center for Defense and Security told ERR that reasons Russian submarines have recently become more active in the Baltic Sea, including the Gulf of Finland, are related to the construction and testing of six new Black Sea-bound subs and the general increase in the activity of the Russian navy. “They are improved Kilo-class submarines, which are being built at a plant near St. Petersburg.“
Editor: S. Tambur