The perception of the Baltic Sea as an internal NATO reservoir is wrong because Russia is able to disrupt sea trade in the region, the head of The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE), Jukka Savolainen, has claimed
“After Finland and Sweden’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty, many would be eager to consider the Baltic Sea an internal NATO sea. This is a very illusory sense of security,” Savolainen said in an interview for the Finnish paper Iltalehti.
He agreed that Nordic states’ membership in NATO would generally improve the security of the region, but it will be no obstacle to Russia’s hybrid operations. Some of them could be aimed at international sea trade, Savolainen warned.
The expert referred in particular to the security of supplies for Finland, which is a kind of “island” — 90 percent of exports and imports take place by sea. “This cannot be replaced by road or air transport because the volume and costs are too high,” he added.
Sabotage suspected against Nord Stream gas pipelines
“We cannot imagine a scenario that does not include a targeted attack,” said a source familiar with the investigation results by the federal security authorities and the German government
Savolainen believes that the recent attacks on Nord Stream pipelines show a strong need for NATO support in the area. The expert explained that beside pipelines, there are also data cables and other key infrastructure in the Baltic that need to be protected against any attacks.
Finland and Sweden have been approved as new members of NATO but the decision was not ratified fully by all member states.