Government tight-lipped over broken data cable communication with Russia

The Russian Embassy in Tallinn.
The Russian Embassy in Tallinn. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Estonia's state authorities did not give clear answers when asked if Russia had been approached in the investigation into a broken data cable in the Gulf of Finland.

"These questions are for the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Internal Security Service, who are leading the investigation," said Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Mihkel Tamm, in response to ERR's question.

"The State Prosecutor's Office opened criminal proceedings to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the damage to the communication cable. Criminal proceedings were opened under the Penal Code section on disruption or damage to a vital system. The opened criminal proceedings are led by the State Prosecutor's Office and conducted by the Internal Security Service," Kauri Sinkevicius, public relations advisor of the Prosecutor's Office, told ERR on Thursday. 

"In order to clarify the circumstances, the State Prosecutor's Office and the Internal Security Service are cooperating internationally with law enforcement authorities in Finland and other countries that have a legal cooperation agreement with Estonia," Sinkevicius added.

Asked if Estonia had communicated with Russia, he said: "We have nothing to add to this answer at this time."

While Minister of Justice Kalle Laanet (Reform) started proceedings to end a legal aid agreement with Russia in September, it is still in force as the termination process is ongoing.

First signed in 1995, the agreement is renewed every five years and simplifies legal aid and legal relations in civil, family, and criminal matters between the countries. To prevent its automatic extension in 2025, the government is seeking to end the contract by September 2024 at the latest.

If the agreement is terminated, legal cooperation with Russia will take place in the same way as it currently does with all other third countries.

Investigations were launched by Finland and Estonia after a sudden drop in pressure was recorded in the 77-km Balticconnector gas pipeline that runs between the countries.

The authorities found that the pipeline was broken in Finland's area of economic interest and a data cable in Etonia's economic waters.

The damage to Balticconnector is being treated as sabotage but it is not known if the incidents are linked.


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Editor: Mait Ots, Helen Wright

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