After threats from Moscow
Russian activities in the Baltic Sea: Sweden sends armored vehicles on patrol
Russia is doing everything possible to prevent its neighbors from joining NATO. Not only Ukraine, Sweden is also showering threats. Now the government in Stockholm is responding.
Seeing an increase in “Russian activities” in the Baltic Sea, Sweden sent several armored vehicles to the streets of the island of Gotland and troops patrolled it. About ten armored fighting vehicles and dozens of soldiers were in the small port town of Visby on Friday, the military said. A few days ago, three ships of the Russian Navy entered the Baltic Sea through the Strait of the Great Belt in Denmark.
“The armed forces are taking the necessary measures to protect the integrity of Sweden and are demonstrating our ability to defend Sweden and Swedish interests,” Defense Minister Peter Hultquist told AFP.
Increased patrols on Gotland are a sign that Sweden is taking the situation seriously and “won’t be taken by surprise,” Hultqvist told TT news agency. The military said Thursday evening that units would be deployed “to strengthen operations in multiple locations” as “increased Russian activities in the Baltic Sea”.
Russia wants to stop Sweden from joining NATO
The Swedish Armed Forces’ chief of operations, Michael Claesen, however, denied that this was a targeted Swedish “show of power”. He told AFP the units were already part of a force deployed on the island. It is a “natural way of accommodating military presence”.
Although Sweden is not a member of NATO, it works closely with the coalition. Russia recently warned the country of “serious consequences” if it joins the coalition. Since Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014, Stockholm has again increased its security. In 2017, it resumed recruitment.
Given the heavy deployment of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine, the West is concerned that Russia is currently preparing to invade the neighboring country. The Kremlin vehemently rejects it.
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