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Article from Ministry of Defence

Damaged telecommunications cable between Sweden and Estonia

Published Updated

Updated version 23/10 16:30: It has been confirmed that an undersea telecommunications cable between Sweden and Estonia has been damaged by means of external force or tampering. Minister for Defence Pål Jonson and Minister for Civil Defence Carl-Oskar Bohlin held a press conference on Tuesday 17 October to provide an overview of the situation and describe what government agencies are doing in response. Chief of the Swedish Navy Ewa Skoog Haslum and Director General of the Swedish Coast Guard Lena Lindgren Schelin also took part in the press conference.

Over the past few days, Swedish government agencies have received information that a telecommunications cable running between Sweden and Estonia was damaged. The damage seems to have occurred in close connection to two other known incidents: one on a Finnish-Estonian gas pipeline and one on a Finnish-Estonian communications cable. It is not yet known what caused the damage, but the ability to communicate has not been affected. There is an ongoing investigation.

Update: It has been confirmed that the cable has been damaged through external force or tampering. The damage did not affect the function of the cable. The damage occurred within the Estonian economic zone. 

– We are cooperating closely with our Estonian and Finnish partners. Estonia has reported that traces of physical impacts have been found. They have also assessed that the damage to the gas pipeline and communications cable between Finland and Estonia is related to the damage to the communications cable between Sweden and Estonia, says Minister for Civil Defence Carl-Oskar Bohlin.

The Swedish Police Authority, the Swedish Security Service, the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Coast Guard were already in contact with their Finnish and Estonian counterparts to offer Swedish support and assistance in relation to the investigation and the damaged Finnish-Estonian cables. Contact between the government agencies in the respective countries is now being strengthened given that similar developments have impacted Swedish interests.

– The relevant Swedish authorities are investigating the situation in close collaboration with their Estonian counterparts. The Swedish Armed Forces vessel HMS Belos has been deployed to the location to investigate. NATO is also sending an important signal with its increased presence in the Baltic Sea following these events, says Minister for Defence Pål Jonson.

Update: NATO has increased their presence in the Baltic Sea by deploying a minesweeping vessel and through increased air surveillance. 

The Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Coast Guard conduct maritime surveillance around the clock, year round, and are particularly vigilant since the events involving Nord Stream and in light of security developments. Due to recent events, maritime surveillance is conducted more intensively and involves increased cooperation between government agencies and international partners. 

Additions to the article

The new version 20/10 of this article includes quotes from the Minister for Civil Defence and the Minister for Defence.

The updated version 23/10, 16.40, includes updated regarding the confirmation of the damage to the swedish-estonian cable and the response from Sweden and Nato.