• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Sweden plays down Russian Baltic operation

The Local · 3 Mar 2014, 16:17

Published: 03 Mar 2014 16:17 GMT+01:00

The Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported on Monday that 3,500 servicemen of the Russian Baltic Fleet were engaged in a "combat readiness" test operation outside Kaliningrad - the Russian seaport that has been an isolated territory since the Soviet Union's collapse.

But Gudrun Persson, researcher in Russian politics and history at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut - FOI) did not tie the news to current events in Ukraine, where Russian soldiers have moved in to Crimea and Ukrainian forces are mobilizing.

"It's impossible to tell if there is a link in this or something completely new," she wrote in a chat on the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper (SvD) on Monday. "So far I've only read the information from the news agency. But it's nothing new that the Baltic Sea marines are part of a training exercise that kicked off last week and that will end today."

She added that the exercise was scheduled to end on Monday, but that it had already been stated that it could continue up until March 7th before the ships return to base.

The Itar-Tass news agency reported that the operation was making use of over 450 units of military hardware including tanks, armoured carriers, and self-propelled artillery installations. Vladimir Matveyev, the chief of the public relations department of the Russian western military district, told Itar-Tass that the move was a "surprise inspection" of combat readiness.

The Swedish prime minister, on a visit to Uppsala, said that Russia's behaviour had become "unpredictable". Fredrik Reinfeldt also mentioned the "erratic actions of a mighty neighbour" that could lead to "more resources" for Swedish defence, reported Expressen.

Two days earlier, Swedish author and geopolitical expert Mikael Holmström wrote in the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet that it was no surprise that Russia was acting like the Soviet Union of old. 

"Putin sees security as a zero sum game. When his neighbour fares well, Russia fares badly," Holmström wrote in reference to the political crisis in Ukraine. "That (view) collides with the Western view that security benefits everyone."

Story continues below…

Kaliningrad, now sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, was mentioned in 2008 in the Russian response to US plans to build bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. President Vladimir Putin at the time said he would deploy short-range missiles to Kaliningrad. The Iskander missiles were not sent, however, Putin confirmed in his end of year address in 2013.

One Swedish MP told The Local that "media posturing" by Russia was nothing new, and was used strategically to inflate their importance on the world stage. The MP was not aware of the alleged Baltic Sea operation, but said it was legal and unremarkable that Russia would conduct a naval exercise on its own territory. 

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedish city ‘receiving more tips about extremists’
Rosengård in Malmö is a troubled suburb with a reputation for crime and ethnic segregation. Photo: TT

More names of alleged extremist recruiters.

Mona Sahlin quits in bodyguard mortgage fiasco
Mona Sahlin. Photo: TT

UPDATE: Mona Sahlin has stepped down from her position as Sweden's national coordinator against violent extremism, after revelations that she had misrepresented her bodyguard’s salary to help him secure a mortgage.

Watch out for rail delays this holiday weekend
Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Make sure you bring plenty of entertainment if you’re taking the train between Sweden’s two biggest cities this weekend.

Interview
Can these cartoon Swedes help foreigners blend in?
One of the cartoons in the new book. Copyright: Julien S. Bourrelle

Dating happens after sex and Swedes can struggle to show their emotions.

Interview
Why I bared my breasts for a school photo
Photo: Private

“I think it’s a social construct that we should think of breasts as such a big deal.”

Weary asylum seekers choose to leave Sweden
Police supervise a queue of asylum seekers at Hyllie station near Malmö in November 2015. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Year-long waits are one reason.

Disgraced celeb surgeon defends work in first interview
Paolo Macchiarini. Photo: Lorenzo Galassi/TT/AP

Scandal-hit Italian surgeon Paolo Macchiarini is accused of using Swedish patients as guinea pigs.

The Local List
Nine startling ways Sweden's capital will steal your heart
Living in Stockholm isn't all about Abba and meatballs. Photos: Hasse Holmberg/Anders Wikström/Christine Olsson/TT

It's easy to fall in love with Stockholm's architecture, parks and sense of style. But there are so many more reasons to be passionate about the stunning city.

Couple terrified after new tenant bakes hash cake
This gingerbread cake is perfectly innocent. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

He doesn’t Iive with them any more.

Fury as sacked boss gets job with migration agency
Angeles Bermudez-Svankvist in 2011. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

“People were screaming in the corridors.”

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: Stockholm's secret dating scene
International
Eurovision heads to the US (kind of)
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
National
Sweden set for sunny weekend
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vollsjö, Sjöbo
Blog updates

29 April

Editor’s blog, April 29th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Relations between Sweden and Russia went from slightly strained to full-on James Bond this…" READ »

 

18 April

A day as a guard (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Life as an Ambassador. Driven around in the Jaguar. Visits all planned so you go straight…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Kista: The best office space in Sweden?
Features
How to be a cool Swede during a hot summer
Sponsored Article
'Swedes must realize only soft power can defeat radicalism'
Gallery
People-watching: April 29th - May 1st
Analysis & Opinion
Why Sweden's fretting about Brexit
National
INTERVIEW: Swedish police officer 'beat me up and used racial slurs'
Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
Gallery
People-watching: April 27th
Sponsored Article
Becoming an expat: where to start
National
Öresund bridge border checks net record number of drink drivers
National
Swedes bid farewell to iconic Volvo
Sponsored Article
Why international researchers love to call Malmö home
Gallery
Property of the week: Enköping
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
Gallery
People-watching: April 22nd-24th
Politics
Could Brits in Europe stop Brexit?
Sponsored Article
‘Life in Stockholm’s suburbs is better than people realize’
National
The first official picture of Sweden's new royal Prince Alexander
Sponsored Article
'I may work at a Swedish company, but we’re global'
National
Sweden's Sami reindeer still live in the shadow of Chernobyl
Sponsored Article
'A sustainable Sweden must embrace diversity'
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 20th
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
National
Why was a Nazi flag hoisted in a Swedish town on Hitler's birthday?
Sponsored Article
Sigtunaskolan: 'The best of what Sweden has to offer'
National
How did Sweden's deputy PM get in trouble over New York comments?
Sponsored Article
'I may work at a Swedish company, but we’re global'
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 16th-17th
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: Stockholm's secret dating scene
Culture
Sweden finally axes historic dancing ban
International
Have you phoned Sweden yet?
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 13th
National
Is booze going up in Sweden?
3,310
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se