Man-made damage has been identified on the Estonian-Swedish communication cable and the circumstances are being clarified, the Prosecutor's Office said on Friday. A request for assistance from China has also been completed.
State Prosecutor Triinu Olev said it has now been possible to examine the Estonian-Swedish communication cable.
"In the case of the Estonian-Swedish communication cable, it was known that there were man-made traces on the seabed in the vicinity and the cable's capacity was disrupted for some time. Since the communications operator restored the cable's capacity after the incident, the cable could not have been broken. In order to carry out a thorough examination of the communication cable to determine whether there was any evidence of or evidence of man-made damage, we had to wait for weather conditions that would allow us to carry out our investigations at sea," said Olev.
Estonia's Internal Security Services (ISS) has confirmed the damage was caused by human activity.
Estonia's investigation into the broken Elisa cable between Finland and Estonia has now been expanded to include the Estonian-Swedish cable. It will determine the circumstances in which the damage was created. Investigators are still gathering additional evidence.
The main theory centers on the Hong Kong-flagged Newnew Polar Bear.
As the damage occurred outside of Estonia's territorial waters, the ISS has limited powers, Olev explained.
"Therefore, we drafted a request for legal assistance to China, so that the law enforcement authorities of China, within the framework of international cooperation, would carry out procedural activities for Estonian criminal proceedings, in particular in relation to the vessel and its crew, and assist in clarifying the facts," she said.
At the moment, it is not known which countries will need to cooperate in the course of further criminal proceedings.
Finland is in charge of the Balticconnector investigation, while a damaged Russian communication cable is not related to Estonian criminal proceedings.
Editor: Mirjam Mäekivi, Helen Wright