Sweden summons Russian envoy over airspace violation

Sweden said on Thursday it would summon Russian representatives to its foreign ministry over a Wednesday violation of its airspace by four Russian fighter jets.

Sweden summons Russian envoy over airspace violation
Sweden's Foreign Ministry in central Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

“There are established procedures for these type of issues and those include summoning a representative of the violating nation to the foreign ministry,” Klara Hook, press communicator at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, told AFP.

“These procedures will be applied in this case as well,” Hook added, declining to comment on whether the Russian ambassador had already been summoned or not.

While Russian incursions of the Nordic nation’s airspace have happened in the past, Wednesday’s event was treated with increased scrutiny given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Against the background of the current situation we are taking the incident very seriously,” Chief of Sweden’s Air Force Carl-Johan Edström said in a statement Wednesday evening.

According to Sweden’s air force the airspace “violation” was “brief” but Swedish Jas 39 Gripen jets were scrambled to document and photograph the two Su-24 and two Su-27 fighter jets.

Sweden’s defence minister on Wednesday denounced the incursion as “completely unacceptable.”

“This will lead to a clear diplomatic signal from the Swedish side,” Peter Hultqvist said in a written statement to AFP.

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Germany to boost military cooperation with Sweden and Finland amid Nato bid

Germany will ramp up its military collaboration with Sweden and Finland as the two countries seek Nato membership in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday.

Germany to boost military cooperation with Sweden and Finland amid Nato bid

“We will intensify our military cooperation, especially in the Baltic Sea region and through joint exercises,” Scholz said amid concern for the two candidates’ security during the transition period to Nato accession.

“It is already clear that our countries are bound together by an obligation to provide each other with all possible assistance and support for mutual protection” as members of the United Nations and the European Union, Scholz added.

“Both countries can always rely on our support, especially in this very special situation,” he said.

Germany has been hiking up military spending and changing decades-held policies in the wake of the war on Ukraine, which began when Russia invaded its neighbour on February 24th this year. 

READ ALSO: Zeitenwende: How war in Ukraine has sparked a historic shift in Germany

With Moscow pressing its assault in eastern border regions of Ukraine nearly three months into its invasion, Helsinki and Stockholm are poised to give up decades of military non-alignment over fears they could be next.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson confirmed on Monday her country would apply to join Nato, a day after Finland — which shares a 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Russia – said the same.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose war has sparked global outrage, said the move poses “no direct threat for us… but the expansion of military infrastructure to these territories will certainly provoke our response”.

Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg told a meeting of the alliance in Berlin on Sunday that it would “look into ways to provide security assurances including by increasing Nato presence in the region” during the transition period.

“Finland and Sweden are concerned about the interim period… we will try to speed up that process,” he said.