Sweden faces increased risk of Russian retaliation: Swedish Armed Forces

Sweden's support for Ukraine and participation in the coordinated international response to Russia's invasion has increased the risk of retaliation, the Swedish Armed Forces said in the first of its new weekly press conferences.

Michael Claesson, operative chief of the Swedish Armed Forces led the press conference on Thursday.
Michael Claesson, operative chief of the Swedish Armed Forces led the press conference on Thursday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

“There is a range of possible Russian retaliatory actions which could be aimed at Sweden,” Lieutenant General Michael Claesson, the Swedish Armed Forces’ chief of operations, said. “[Some of the things] in the Russian toolbox include influence operations, discrediting important individuals, cyber-attacks, sabotage, and more.”

Claesson was speaking at the first of the Swedish Armed Forces’ new weekly press conferences on the security situation, which will be broadcast directly at 3pm every Thursday for so long as the Russian invasion is destabilising the region. 

The press conferences will serve a similar function to the daily and then weekly press conferences that the Swedish Public Health Agency used to keep the population updated during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Claesson said that the unexpectedly united response from the EU and from Nato had led to a heightened tone in Russian rhetoric and an increased risk of concrete retaliatory actions.

But he also said that the judgement of the Swedish Armed Forces was that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was not going to plan. “The Russian weaknesses and Ukrainian resistance provide hope,”  he said.

While the invasion had brought some new things to light, such as Russia’s effective control of Belarus and its perhaps closer than expected links to China, he said that the Armed Forces did not currently see any unexpected military activity in the immediate vicinity of Sweden. 

Jan Kinnander, head of the Security Office at Sweden’s Military Intelligence Service (Must), said that the intelligence threat against Sweden remained unchanged at the level it has been at since 2016, the fourth-highest level on a five-level scale.

“This isn’t something we have increased now, rather we have seen that this threat has existed for a long time. We increased the level of threat in 2016, and we can see that it is still at that high level,” he said.

“When we discuss the collection of intelligence, we mean technical intelligence such as signal-tracing or cyber operations with the aim of securing information, and we mean a person-based collection of information, which essentially refers to making contact with individuals and trying to gain information.”

He said that he believed that the recent outage on the Civil Contingencies Agency may have been the rest DDOoS attack from a foreign power, although he said it may also have simply been a technical fault. 

Member comments

  1. Level of alert boosted as from……2016 !!!!
    Did anyone listen in Europe ?
    Nope…….even when a country decides to reinstate conscription……and now what ??
    A bit tardy !!

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Sweden’s ex-NBA star leaves Moscow team

Sweden's ex-NBA star Jonas Jerebko has quit CSKA Moscow, the team said on Saturday, less than three months after his controversial decision to join the organisation amid international condemnation of Russia.

Sweden's ex-NBA star leaves Moscow team

The Swedish basketball federation cut Jerebko from the national squad at the end of March, a day after he joined CSKA Moscow, saying his decision was “against the federation’s values and our very clear stance towards Russia” over its invasion of Ukraine.

CSKA Moscow wrote on its website on Saturday that “the transition to CSKA turned out to be difficult for Jonas in many ways”.

The Swedish federation said Jerebko would however not be returning to the national squad.

His decision to leave CSKA “doesn’t in any way change the decision we made when he signed with them”, the head of the federation Fredrik Joulamo told Swedish news agency TT.

Jerebko, 35, is the only Swede to have played in the NBA, where he spent 10 seasons with the Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors between 2009 and 2019.

Jerebko last played for Sweden in a World Cup qualifier against Croatia at the end of February, during which the federation and players showed their support for Ukraine.

Prior to signing for CSKA, Jerebko was without a club after having finished his contract with Khimki Moscow in 2021.

CSKA Moscow have been excluded from the Euroleague because of Russia’s invasion.