SHARE
COPY LINK

MILITARY

Sweden accuses Russian spy plane of violating airspace

A Russian reconnaissance plane briefly violated Sweden's airspace on Friday, Swedish defence officials said on Saturday, as the country considers its bid for NATO membership after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian propeller plane of the type AN-30 that violated Swedish airspace on April 29, photographed by Swedish fighter planes.
The Russian propeller plane of the type AN-30 that violated Swedish airspace on April 29, photographed by Swedish fighter planes. Photo credit: Swedish Armed Forces via TT.

“A Russian AN-30 propeller plane violated Swedish airspace on Friday evening,” the Swedish defence ministry said in a statement, adding that its teams had followed the incident and photographed it.

The ministry said the plane was flying east of Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic, before it headed towards Swedish territory.

“It is totally unacceptable to violate Swedish airspace,” SVT quoted Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist as saying.

“This action is unprofessional and given the general security situation, very inappropriate. Swedish sovereignty must always be respected.”

Carl-Johan Edström, air force chief, also told SVT  that they had followed the plane for a long time.

“I think it is irresponsible and unprofessional to fly so close to a country’s borders with military aircraft. There is no reason to fly so close that you can accidentally enter a country’s territory, you may well be 10-15 kilometres from the border, then things like this do not have to happen”, Edström said.

At the beginning of March, four Russian fighter jets violated Swedish airspace, when they flew over the sea east of Gotland.

Sweden and Finland have agreed to both announce their intention to join Nato in the week beginning May 16th, newspapers in the two countries have reported.

According to both Iltalehti and Expressen, two tabloid newspapers from Finland and Sweden respectively, Sweden’s government has asked for Finland to delay their announcement so that the two countries can announce their intention to join simultaneously, 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to Sweden debating Nato membership, overturning the non-aligned security policy which has been at the centre of Social Democrat foreign politics since the 1930s. 

READ MORE:

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

BREAKING

Sweden to join Nato: ‘We are leaving one era and entering another”

Sweden on Monday officially announced it will apply for Nato membership as a deterrent against Russian aggression, entering a "new era" as it reverses two centuries of military non-alignment.

Sweden to join Nato: 'We are leaving one era and entering another''

In a joint press conference held with Ulf Kristersson, leader of the opposition Moderate Party, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said joining the alliance would act as a deterrent against Russian aggression. 

“The government has decided to inform Nato that Sweden wants to become a member of the alliance,” Andersson told reporters a day after neighbouring Finland made a similar announcement.

“We are leaving one era and beginning another,” she said, adding that Sweden’s Nato ambassador would “shortly” inform Nato.

Ulf Kristersson, whose party has long supported membership of the alliance, said that he wanted to put party political differences aside to support the government in its decision.  

“There are many major issues where we think differently, but we are going to take a joint responsibility for the process of taking Sweden into Nato,” he said. 

Sweden and Finland have both expressed a desire to act in lockstep on Nato membership and submit their applications jointly.

“We expect it shouldn’t take more than a year” for the alliance’s 30 members to unanimously ratify Sweden’s membership application, Andersson said.

The announcement was expected after her Social Democratic party on Sunday backed membership, in a dramatic turnaround after having opposed the idea since the birth of the Western military alliance.

It came after a debate in parliament in which all parties apart from the Green Party and Left Party spoke in favour of Sweden joining the alliance.  

“It is now clear that there is a broad majority in Sweden’s parliament for Sweden joining Nato,” she said. 

After Sweden’s announcement, Denmark, Norway and Iceland published a joint statement in which they promised to Sweden “by all means necessary” if the country is attacked in the gap between application and admission to the alliance. 

“Should Finland or Sweden be victims of aggression on their territory before obtaining Nato membership, we will assist Finland and Sweden by all means necessary,” the three countries said. “We immediately initiate preparations in order to effectuate these security assurances.”

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, said on Monday that Sweden and Finland joining Nato did not represent a direct threat to Russia’s interests, but he said that if Nato began to site equipment on their territories, Russia would have to respond. 

“Russia has no problems with these states (Finland, Sweden). There is no immediate threat to Russia,” he said at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, which groups Russia with Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

“But the expansion of military infrastructure into this territory would certainly provoke our response,” he said.  

Sweden’s defence minister Peter Hultqvist is flying to Washington on Monday, where he will meet his counterpart Lloyd Austin.

SHOW COMMENTS