- The Swedish military has increased its preparedness in response to Russian military activity that “deviates from the normal picture”.
- Swedish military officials said that tensions are likely to persist and that some of the measures they will take will be visible and others will not.
STOCKHOLM (AP) – A top military chief in Sweden said on Friday that there is increased Russian activity in the Baltic Sea that “deviates from the normal picture”, which leads to the Scandinavian nation’s military raising its preparedness.
“We have decided to reposition our troops. It does not have to mean an increased threat, but we always want to adapt to the current situation,” Lieutenant General Leif Michael Claesson told the Associated Press.
Sweden, which is not a member of NATO, has, among other things, noted a number of landing craft from Russia’s northern fleet that have been on their way into the Baltic Sea.
Claesson, who is chief of operations at the Swedish Armed Forces, said that some of the measures taken by the Swedish military will be visible and others will not.
“We will act in different places in Sweden, in different ways,” he said, adding that they would be visible on the strategically important Baltic Sea island of Gotland, which is a little more than 286 km from the Russian Baltic exclave Kaliningrad.
On Thursday, a guard platoon was seen walking in the harbor in the island’s capital Visby as well as in other ports and at the airport.
“We will operate in the air, at sea, under the surface and on the ground in different ways and in different geographical locations,” he said.
Earlier last week, Major General Lena Hallin, head of Sweden’s military intelligence service MUST, said that “we are far from a normal situation for Swedish security today.”
“For some time now, the trend has been towards a serious security crisis in Europe, and it has accelerated in recent months,” said Hallin. “It is an illusion that tensions in Europe are temporary.”
She said that Russia’s “main goal is regime stability and to strengthen its position as a great power. Preventing NATO enlargement in the vicinity of Russia is a top priority – and this is being looked at in the very long term.”