The reinforced presence provided by the British-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) in the Baltic Sea may be put on pause at the turn of the year, Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat reports. According to the Finnish outlet, the expeditionary force has not detected any critical activity during its time in the Baltic.
There is currently no certainty or information about the continuation of the JEF operation, which began in early December, Janne Kuusela, head of the defense policy department of the Finnish Ministry of Defense told Helsingin Sanomat.
However, Kuusela said it is possible that the operation would end by Christmas and resume again in January should the need arise.
No significant suspicious activity has been detected in the vicinity of the critical infrastructure in the Baltic Sea. "Nothing of particular significance to report has been observed. I have to admit that I have not been involved in the operation on a day-to-day basis, but if something really significant had been detected, it would have been brought to my attention," said Kuusela.
At the end of December, the defense ministers of the ten JEF nations decided to increase the presence and control of their respective navies and coastguards in the Baltic Sea.
JEF launched its first short notice deployment in response to a rupture detected in the undersea Balticconnector gas pipeline between Estonia and Finland. Around the same time, a communications cable connecting the two countries was also damaged. Soon after, a cable linking Estonia and Sweden, 50 kilometers off the coast of Hiiumaa, suffered a similar fate.
By increasing the presence of JEF fleets, the aim was to visibly enhance control and protection of the undersea infrastructure in the region.
The JEF is a British-led defense cooperation involving Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Netherlands, in addition to the U.K.
Last week, ERR News was invited aboard British Royal Navy vessel HMS Richmond, when it arrived in Tallinn as part of the JEF deployment.
Editor: Michael Cole