‘This is a crime’: Sweden announced the invasion of Russian warships

STOCKHOLM, (BM) – Sweden accused Russia of violating its territorial waters on September 14. According to the Swedish Ministry of Defense, the Russian ships were in the territorial waters of the state for 11 minutes, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Gazeta.ru. This is not the first time that Stockholm has made such accusations against Moscow.

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Two Russian warships illegally entered Swedish territorial waters southwest of Gothenburg on September 14, the Swedish Defense Ministry said on its website.

“Since the ships did not have permission, the Ministry of Defense regards this as a violation of the order of access to the territorial waters,” the Swedish Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The country’s Defense Minister Peter Hultkvist said in an interview with the SVT TV channel that the ships were in Swedish territorial waters for 11 minutes. “This, of course, is a crime, and this is a violation of Swedish territory,” said the minister, quoted by the newspaper Expressen.

The head of the defense department noted that the Russian military was contacted by radio, and then they left the territorial waters of Sweden. “This is a violation. This is unacceptable under existing rules and therefore we must respond. Therefore, a representative of the Russian embassy was also summoned,” said Hultqvist.

It is not the first time that Sweden has declared that Russian ships violated the procedure for entering the country’s territorial waters. About a year ago, NSD and Svenska Dagbladet, citing a statement from the Swedish armed forces, reported that on November 17 a Russian “state ship” entered “Swedish territory” west of the city of Gothenburg without permission from the country’s authorities.

Sweden regarded this as a violation of the rules, as “the vessel did not have a valid permit”. A spokesman for the Swedish Armed Forces, Philip Simon, refused to answer clarifying questions from Swedish publications. “We have entered all the available information in the report, which we submitted to the Swedish government,” he said.

The Swedish Defense Ministry also declined to comment on the incident with the Russian ship in Gothenburg. “Usually we do not comment on violations. They can be of different types, and it can be a state secret. The armed forces reported that it had happened,” stated Peter Hultqvist.

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At the end of September last year, The Guardian, citing a representative of the Swedish Navy, reported that the headquarters of the Swedish Navy was moved to an underground base on Muske Island, 40 km from Stockholm.

“The Muske base is unique in terms of fortification, it is an underground area, as big as the old town in Stockholm,” said Rebecca Landberg, head of the Navy’s communications department.

She stressed that the command of the Navy must be stable and able to work even under attack, so Muske is considered “the best option.” “The military needs to adapt its operations to the challenges posed by a deteriorating external environment,” said a spokesman for the Navy.

Niklas Grandzolm, a senior analyst at the Swedish Institute for Defense Research, explained that the decision to move the headquarters was probably due to the fact that only Muske, according to calculations, is sufficiently protected in the event that Russia uses powerful weapons.

An underground naval base on Muske Island was built for the Swedish Navy in the 1950s and 1960s. It was intended for the safe basing of submarines and small surface ships in a war with the use of nuclear weapons.

In 2004, the naval budget was cut, in addition, international tensions decreased after the end of the Cold War, so the base was mothballed. Now it is partially used as a civil shipyard and an auxiliary anchorage for the fleet. There are underground docks on the territory of the base where ships can hide. In addition, there is a hospital and office premises.

In late summer last year, Bloomberg reported that the Swedish government was going to introduce a new tax on banking to fund higher defense spending. Thus, Stockholm wanted to make additional efforts to counter the buildup of Moscow’s military power in the Baltic Sea, the agency wrote.

But the Swedish bankers’ association criticized the finance minister’s plans. They noticed that banks are already paying high fees to enable the state to cope with financial crises. The associations noted that banks are less profitable than Swedish public companies on average.

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