Russia ‘blocks’ Stockholm property sale

The Swedish Enforcement Authority (Kronofogden) was about to seize and sell a property in Stockholm belonging to the Russian Trade Delegation when a letter to the agency from the country’s embassy stopped the proceedings, according to a report in trade and business paper Dagens Industri (DI).

The conflict between the German businessman who owns the property and the Russian delegation has been ongoing for some time and the Swedish Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen) has ruled in favour of the Enforcement Authority.

The building is not considered to be covered by any diplomatic immunity and the agency should therefore handle the matter as they would any building in the country.

But when the agency tried to have the property valued, they received a letter from the Russian embassy, claiming that the sale of the property would be detrimental to Swedish-Russian relations, reports DI.

And Peter Stigefelt of the agency was warned off proceeding with the sale in a conversation with a Russian official, saying that should that happen, it could mean that the “equal measures” might be taken against the Swedish embassy in Moscow, according to the paper.

The evaluation of the property was supposed to take place at the end of February but was ultimately cancelled by the agency. However, according to the agency this has nothing to do with pressure put on them by the Russian embassy.

“The Russians also had new information and we are obliged to look into this,” said Eva Liedström Adler of the agency told newspaper Borås Tidning (BT).

The fate of the building will be determined on Tuesday.

The Local/rm

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Sweden steps up Baltic defence in ‘signal’ to Russia

Sweden's defence minister has said his country is carrying out military exercises in the Baltic Sea to 'send a signal' to countries including Russia.

Sweden steps up Baltic defence in 'signal' to Russia
Swedish troops on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland. Photo: Joel Thungren/Försvarsmakten/TT

The so-called “high readiness action” means the Swedish army, navy and air force are currently more visible in the southeastern and southern Baltic Sea and on the island of Gotland.

No details have been disclosed about the number of troops involved in the action.

Sweden is “sending a signal both to our Western partners and to the Russian side that we are prepared to defend Sweden's sovereignty,” Hultqvist told news agency TT.

Ground troops on Gotland. Photo: Bezhav Mahmoud/Försvarsmakten/TT

“There is currently extensive military activity in the Baltic Sea, conducted by Russian as well as Western players, on a scale the likes of which have not been seen since the Cold War,” the Swedish Armed Forces' Commander of Joint Operations, Jan Thörnqvist, said in a statement.

“The exercise activities are more complex and have arisen more rapidly than before. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has caused global anxiety and uncertainty. Over all, the situation is more unstable and more difficult to predict,” Thörnqvist said.

A Visby-class corvette and two Jas Gripen jets in the air. Photo: Antonia Sehlstedt/Försvarsmakten/TT

Hultqvist said Sweden was also monitoring developments in Belarus “very closely”.

Non-Nato member Sweden, which has not been to war in two centuries and which slashed military spending at the end of the Cold War, reopened a garrison on Gotland in January 2018 amid concerns about Russian intentions in Europe and the Baltic.