Finland's defense minister told AFP on Thursday that Helsinki's investigation into a pipeline rupture under the Baltic Sea should yield answers on the cause within weeks.

Helsinki has said it believes last weekend's leak in the Finland-Estonia gas pipeline was caused by "external" activity, sparking suspicions of Russian involvement.

NATO members Finland and Estonia are investigating the incident and have cautioned against leaping to conclusions before the official results.

"I hope in a week or two we are having enough evidence from our investigations," Finland's defense minister Antti Hakkanen said in English, at a meeting with his NATO counterparts.

The latest incident comes more than a year after explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines cut off a major route for Russian gas to Europe and fueled geopolitical tensions already running high over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.


Officials declared the blasts were "sabotage" but there has still been no definitive answers on who or what was responsible.

Hakkanen said that for such incidents "they are really hard to attribute who was behind it and find that foolproof evidence."

"That's why I think in this case, what happened now in the Baltic Sea, we have to do the conclusions much faster than on Nord Stream," he said.

NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday said the military alliance would offer a "determined response" if it was shown the incident was a deliberate attack.

"It's too early to draw some more conclusions about this. But, of course, we have to be prepared. We don't know what is the external action," Hakkanen said.

Finland joined NATO this year after dropping its long-standing policy of non-alignment in the face of Russia's war on Ukraine, in a major strategic shift that angered Moscow.

The Finnish minister declined to speculate whether the incident could trigger NATO's Article Five collective defense clause if Russia was implicated.

He said Helsinki was not calling for NATO naval reinforcements to be sent to the area "at this time" and any shift in posture should depend on the outcome of the investigation.

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