Finnish authorities said Monday that the Russian salvage vessel Spasatel Karev began to repair Rostelecom’s Baltika telecommunications cable in the Gulf of Finland on 6 November.

Russia’s state-owned telecommunications operator Rostelecom informed Finland on 12 October 2023 that its telecommunications cable in Finland’s exclusive economic zone was faulty, and that the company intended to carry out repairs on site, according to Finnish government.

Baltika is a telecommunications cable of approximately 1,000 kilometres in length, between the areas of St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad.

The cable is partly located in the exclusive economic zones of Finland and Sweden. In Finland’s economic zone, the length of the sea cable is approximately 377 km, and 395 km in Sweden’s economic zone.

The company has negotiated with Helsinki concerning the repair of the faulty cable, which is partly located in Finland’s exclusive economic zone.

The possibility of repair work is included in the government’s consent to construct a sea cable through Finland’s exclusive economic zone given on 25 June 2020.

Rostelecom also has a water permit granted by the regional state administrative agency of Finland to construct and maintain the cables.

According to Finish government, the repair and maintenance of cables in Finland’s exclusive economic zone require prior notification to Traficom, and a review of the measures with the Finnish authorities.

“Vessels carrying out repairs must comply with the international navigation rules in maritime transport.”

Helsinki and Rostelecom have been in contact several times in order to obtain additional information and to discuss the permit conditions.

Finland´s ministry of economic affairs and employment requested that the repairs planned by the company for October be postponed due to the pre-trial investigation, the coastal state’s duty to exercise proper care and the precautionary principle, which is a permit condition.

Rostelecom has provided the requested information to the relevant ministry and justified the need for rapid repairs to ensure services in the Kaliningrad region, among other things, as Finnish authorities claim.

In accordance with the permit conditions, Rostelecom informed Traficom that it would begin the repairs on 4 November.