Russia's leader, President Vladimir Putin, was dismissive of speculation that Russia was culpable in a rupture in the Balticconnector natural gas pipeline, linking Estonia and Finland, first detected last weekend.
Reuters reports that Putin said he had "not heard of such a pipeline before" – the North-South Balticonnector is traversed by the East-West Russian Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines – and suggested the claims were a diversionary effort away from what he called the Western false flag attack on Nord Stream 1 and 2 in September last year.
Damage to the Balticconnector pipeline and telecommunications cable was confirmed on Tuesday after Gasgrid, Finland's grid systems operator, noted a drop in pressure and possible leak first detected in the small hours of Sunday.
The rupture took place during particularly stormy weather; an investigation is ongoing, involving both Estonian and Finnish authorities, to get to the root cause.
The pipeline, opened in late 2019, will be off-line until the spring, prompting fears of natural gas prices in Estonia and Finland being higher over the winter than had earlier been forecast.
Meanwhile Finland's Ministry of the Interior announced that it is preparing to impose movement restrictions in the port area of Inkoo, where a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal is located, public broadcaster Yle reports.
With Balticconnector off-line, LNG terminals take on an additional significance; Estonia's own LNG terminal is at Paldiski, West of Tallinn.
A pipeline also runs southwards to Latvia and beyond, and Estonia can also draw on natural gas stored at the Inčukalns facility in Latvia, in addition to its own reserves.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Reuters, Yle