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'Unprecedented' Russian activity: Armed Forces

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'Unprecedented' Russian activity: Armed Forces
Commanding Officer Göran Mårtensson. Photo: TT
16:03 CET+01:00
The Armed Forces have described the recent Russian military activity close to Sweden as "unprecedented", adding that the likes of which haven't been seen since the Cold War.
The Armed Forces held a press conference on Thursday to address recent Russian military exercises that have made headline news in Sweden and abroad.
 
On Friday, a Russian intelligence plane was in a near-collision with a commericial flight run by operator SAS. The incident occurred in international airspace near Sweden. 
 
Last week also saw Russian military aircraft flying over the Baltic Sea, with several TU-95 bomber planes reported to passing the southern reaches of the sea every day in a four-day stretch.
 
"We've not seen this before," Commanding Officer Göran Mårtensson told reporters on Thursday. 
 
Mårtensson remained tight-lipped about the "near-miss", however, and refused to comment on any details about the aircraft. 
 
But the Armed Forces said that if it had not warned the control tower in Malmö, allowing the commercial plane to change course, the two planes could potentially have collided. 
 
Mårtensson added that the Armed Forces had a good oversight of flights in the area and identified the risks in good time. 
 
He refused to elaborate on whether the Swedish military had drawn any conclusions about why the Russian aircraft was flying without transponders - meaning it was invisible to the Swedish radars. The Swedish military has claimed that the two planes were separated by as little as nine kilometres.
 
Russian authorities, meanwhile, deny that the plane was within a 70 kilometre radius of the SAS aircraft. 
 
Both Sweden and Denmark's foreign offices called in the countries' respective Russian ambassadors for talks soon after.
 
On Wednesday, the Russian ambassador in Denmark blamed the Swedish reaction to the "near-miss" on an apparent Swedish proclivity for smoking cannabis. 
 
"The Swedish authorities also recently said there was a submarine in their waters. There wasn't," Mikhail Vanin, Russia's ambassador in Copenhagen, told the Berlingske daily newspaper.
 
"Now they say again that they have seen something. I'm afraid the Swedes visit Pusher Street very often," he said, referring to the Christiania neighbourhood in Copenhagen known for its cannabis trade.
 
The Armed Forces recently said it needs a massive financial injection if it is to live up to the expectations of Sweden's politicians. 
 
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