Finland has not blamed 'a Russian operation' for damaging the Balticconnector gas pipeline

By: Emmi Kivi
November 2 2023

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Finland has not blamed 'a Russian operation' for damaging the Balticconnector gas pipeline


The Verdict False

There is no evidence Finland blamed Russia for the damage to the Balticconnector. The fracture was caused by a mechanical force, not an explosion.

Claim ID c2ab1dbf


On October 8, the Finnish state-owned operator Gasgrid Finland discovered a leak in the Balticconnector gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia, causing disruptions in gas transmissions. The preliminary assessment concluded that the normal gas transmission process did not cause the damage. The Estlink data communications cable between Finland and Estonia was also defective.

The uncertainty revolving around the causes of the damage has left room for social media users to speculate about the damage to the Balticconnector. One such post claims that Finland, under the orders of NATO, is pushing a narrative of a Russian operation against the fractured pipeline. The post also claims without evidence that it was the U.S. Special Forces that damaged the Balticconnector. 

While the investigation on the gas pipeline continues, the Finnish authorities have not attributed the damage to Russia at any point in the inquiry. 

In Fact

The leak in the Balticconnector was located in Finland’s exclusive economic zone; the Finnish authorities launched an investigation in collaboration with Estonia. 

According to the investigation conducted by the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the damage was caused by “an external force” that was “mechanical, not an explosion.” The NBI discovered drag marks on the seabed on both sides of the fractured pipeline. 

With the ongoing investigation, the possibility of sabotage was not ruled out. On October 10, the Finnish President, Sauli Niinistö, stated that the damage to the Balticconnector was most likely caused by “external activity” but did not indicate or accuse any entity for the injury. 

The NBI investigation examined the Maritime traffic data on the Gulf of Finland close to when the incident occurred. On October 24, the Finnish Public Service Media Company (YLE) reported that the NBI recovered an anchor near the damaged pipeline. The anchor is supposed to belong to a Hong Kong-flagged and Chinese-owned freighter, Newnew Polar Bear. Its movements coincided with the time and place the pipeline was damaged. 

The container ship was missing a front anchor. While the Finnish authorities are still probing the cause of the damage, the investigation focuses on the movements of the Newnew Polar Bear freighter. According to the Finnish Prime Minister, Petteri Orpo, China “has pledged to assist in the further investigation, and this cooperation is about to commence.” 

There is no evidence to support the claim that the U.S. Special Forces were behind the damage. The claim that Finland would function under the orders of NATO has no foundation. The assertion echoes the evergreen falsehood of NATO aggression and the Alliance’s member countries’ lack of sovereignty – disproved previously by Logically Facts.

The verdict

The Finnish government has not blamed Russia for fracturing the Balticconnector gas pipeline. According to the investigation, the damage was caused by a mechanical external force, not an explosion. Currently, the police inquiry is focused on the movements of the Chinese-owned cargo ship, the Newnew Polar Bear. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false. 

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