You are currently viewing Swedish tanks patrol ports on Gotland over tensions between Russia and NATO

15 Jan. 2022 15:35

Sweden’s government has increased the military presence on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland. According to media reports, soldiers with armored vehicles are patrolling Visby Airport and all seaports. The measure is primarily intended to demonstrate Sweden’s ability to defend itself.

Against the background of tensions between NATO and Russia, EU country Sweden has increased its military presence on Gotland. On January 13, Swedish soldiers began patrolling the area around the Baltic island’s only international airport near Visby and all seaports. A few days earlier, according to media reports, three landing ships of the Russian Navy entered the Baltic Sea through the straits of the Great Belt.

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Defense Secretary Peter Hultqvist told the news agency AFP that the measure should not least demonstrate the country’s ability to defend itself. Sweden is ready to protect its interests. The minister justified the measure with increasing Russian activities in the Baltic Sea.

The spokesman for the regiment stationed on Gotland, Tomas Ängshammar, told the TV station SVT with, the airport and the seaports are of great importance for the whole municipality:

“It is important to show both the residents of Gotland and other countries that we ensure active defense and adapt it to the current situation.”

According to the commander of joint operations of the armed forces, Lt. Gen. Mikael Klaesson, the Swedish armed forces are also taking action in other parts of the country in response to the “recent actions” by Russia.

According to the media, the Swedish armed forces consider the probability of a Russian attack on the EU country to be low, but consider the patrols on Gotland to be useful. While Sweden is not a NATO member, it works closely with the military alliance.

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Recently, rumors of an alleged Russian “invasion” in Ukraine have been repeated in the West. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on January 14 that Russia could find a pretext for an “attack” on Ukraine.

The Russian authorities have not yet reacted to Swedish preventive measures due to a “Russian threat”. The Russian Kremlin correspondent Dmitry Smirnov wrote in an op-ed for RT:

“While the threat that ‘Russia will attack’ remains virtual, the tanks on the streets and the fear in the hearts of the people are real. ‘Well the Swedish government isn’t stupid, they wouldn’t do it without a reason, would they? ‘ think the Swedes definitely, when they see the tanks. It won’t be long before they jump out the windows again and yell, ‘The Russians are coming’.”

In December 2021, Russia had demanded security guarantees from the USA and NATO and published a draft agreement. Among other things, Moscow demanded written assurances that the Western military alliance would no longer expand eastward. On January 9th and 10th, a Russian and a US delegation held talks in Geneva. On January 12, a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council was held in Brussels. There was also a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on Thursday.

more on the subject – Under NATO command: Denmark is increasing its military presence in the Baltic Sea region

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