Russian bombers seen off Swedish coast

Russian bombers seen off Swedish coast
A Russian Tu-22M3 Tu-bomber. Photo: Pavel Golovkin
Swedish fighter jets were sent on Saturday morning to monitor the activity of two Russian bombers to the east of Gotland.

“Two Jas Gripen planes followed the planes and monitored them,” said Marie Tisäter, duty officer at the Swedish Armed Forces.

“They did not violate Swedish airspace.”

Other nations also reportedly sent up planes to follow the Russian bombers but Tisäter would not disclose the identity of those countries.

“It is our task to keep track of what is happening in our neighborhood. It is not a serious event but something that happens quite often. We often help with other countries' operations in the Baltic Sea and they also help us.”

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The past year has been one of heightened tensions between Sweden and its eastern neighbour, riddled with spy allegations, submarine hunts and claims Russia rehearsed a military invasion of Gotland, strategically located in the middle of the Baltic Sea, back in March.

Increased Russian military activity has caused jitters in Sweden, prompting Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist to announce that Sweden would be stepping up its military power, including stationing 230 Swedish troops on Gotland from 2018 in a bid that would effectively make the island Sweden's first line of defence to the east.