Sweden said it is responding to a new security situation and won’t tolerate breaches as the navy tries to confirm whether an underwater vessel steered by a foreign power entered its waters.
“We have a different political security situation in the Baltic now, which means we react more quickly and more clearly state that we don’t accept this,” Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad, deputy chief of operations at the Swedish Armed Forces, said on Sunay in an interview after a press conference in Stockholm.
The development, which Swedish media have reported may be a damaged Russian submarine, is the latest to remind the region of Cold War operations.
Neighboring Finland said in August it had suffered multiple airspace violations by Russian planes. The complaint was echoed by the Baltic nations which, unlike Sweden and Finland, are NATO members.
Sweden is continuing with full-strength operations in the Stockholm archipelago, Grenstad said on Sundday. The navy deems it “probable” that there’s foreign activity below the surface after three sightings since Oct. 17, he said. The alert is the second-highest level on the armed forces’ assessment scale and operations will continue at least until tomorrow, he said.
The search is reminiscent of the 1980s, when Sweden conducted frequent submarine hunts along its Baltic coast and Russian submarine U-137 in 1981 even ran aground in a military zone near the southern town of Karlskrona. The heightened alert comes amid a backdrop of rising tensions between Europe and Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
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