“This is complete nonsense and a clear provocation, propagated at an international level,” Admiral Vladimir Yegorov, who commanded the Baltic fleet from 1991 to 2000, told the Interfax news agency.
No official comment had been made by the Russian government on Friday afternoon. But Anatoly Kargopolov, spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Stockholm told The Local that it was most unlikely that Russia would have dumped such hazardous waste in the Baltic:
“We are not suicidal – it would not be in our interests to dump such waste in a sea that we share with Sweden.”
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Thursday called for the previous governments to explain a television report that Russia dumped chemical weapons and radioactive waste off the shores of the island of Gotland.
According to the television report on the SVT network on Wednesday, the waste dumped in Swedish waters between 1991 and 1994 came from the giant Karosta naval base in the Latvian port city of Liepaja.
“The naval forces that were pulling out of the Liepaja naval base in Latvia in the early 1990s did not have chemical weapons, radioactive materials and waste,” Yegorov insisted.
He added that the Russian naval forces were monitored by Latvia as they pulled out of the port and that the naval command acted “strictly within the framework of Russian and Latvian agreements.”
A summit of heads of states of countries bordering the Baltic Sea is due to take place in Helsinki on Wednesday to try to solve the problems of one of the world’s most polluted seas.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is due to attend.