President Karis: Our ability to cope with hybrid crises is being tested
“The damage to the Balticconnector gas pipeline between Estonia and Finland and to the telecom cable in the Baltic Sea inevitably raises a lot of worrying questions, but there is no cause for undue concern,” President Alar Karis stated today after meeting with the commander of the Estonian Defence Forces and the heads of security agencies. “We must let the experts determine whether the damage was deliberate or accidental. Only then can we begin to draw any conclusions.”
The head of state said the meetings had reassured him that thorough investigations were being conducted by the relevant authorities. “Be it sooner or later, I have no doubt that they will furnish us with an explanation of what exactly happened and who or what was responsible,” he added. “Estonia has diversified its critical connections, and we are also putting plans in place nationally and with our allies to further boost our security.”
President Karis spoke about this issue with his Finnish and Latvian counterparts Sauli Niinistö and Edgars Rinkēvičs last week.
“Damage to telecom cables is nothing new in itself, but given the recent incident involving Balticconnector, the security of our undersea connections is being seen in a new and broader context,” he said. “Discussions on whether and how such infrastructure can be protected against deliberate and accidental harm are entirely justified.”
President Karis added that it is clear such incidents are testing Estonia’s ability to cope with crises, including hybrid crises. “News of the damage to the undersea connections emerged at the same time as e-mails containing fake bomb threats were received by a large number of children, teachers and parents in the country,” he explained. “Where the latter is concerned, it is important that the competent authorities promptly provide clear instructions on what to do in such a situation. This will prevent confusion in regard to how people should or shouldn’t act.”