Russian SU-27 and SU- 24 fighters violate Sweden’s airspace, sends Saab JAS 39 Gripen for the interception
Four Russian fighter jets violated Swedish airspace on Wednesday, said the country’s defence Ministry. The Swedish Air Force made an effort to intercept the incomings when the information reached them, said MoD.
The Swedish air force carried out an operation with Saab JAS 39 Gripen. The Russian fighter jets were photographed by two Swedish fighter jets and then handed it over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“This shows that our preparedness is good. We were on the site to ensure territorial integrity and Sweden’s borders. We have full control of the situation,” said Air Force Chief Carl-Johan Edström.
The Swedish MoD did not want to go into details about the exact time when the violation took place, or how long it took for the Swedish fighter jets to arrive at the scene.
The Russian planes that violated the Swedish airspace included two Russian SU 27 and two Russian SU 24. He added that the violation was short-lived and took place east of Gotland over the sea.
“In light of the current situation, we take the incident very seriously. It is an unprofessional and irresponsible action on the part of Russia,” said the air force chief.
Sweden claims that violation was delibrate and occurred in the middle of the day as Sweden and Finland are conducting a joint military exercise in the Baltic Sea.
Minister of Defense Peter Hultqvist called the Russian action “completely unacceptable” in an interview with Swedish TT news agency.
“Russia’s violation of Swedish airspace is, of course, completely unacceptable. This will lead to a clear diplomatic signal from the Swedish side. Swedish sovereignty and territory must always be respected,” he said.
Head of Operations at the Swedish Armed Force, Michael Claesson said that in view of the events in Europe, there is reason to question the different incidents that take place. It can also not be ruled out that this is a type of intimidation tactic from Russia to mark against Sweden because we support Ukraine, he said. Sweden is providing military, technical and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
The Nordic region has been hit by violations from Russian aviation on several previous occasions. In June last year, Denmark was even hit twice on the same day when two Russian planes violated Danish airspace near Bornholm.
Russia threatens to invade Sweden says the U.S.
On 2nd March, United States said that Russia is threatening to invade Sweden and Finland. U.S. UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield made the extreme statement before the UN General Assembly on Wednesday night.
Career diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield is not a lightweight. She has been a diplomat in Liberia, Switzerland, Pakistan, Kenya, Gambia, Nigeria and Jamaica. She was nominated for the post of Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations by President Joe Biden on January 20, 2021 and was sworn in on February 24, 2021.
The Swedish government said it is clarifying what is behind the statement.
Moscow’s threat to Sweden
On 1st March, Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, at a press conference in Moscow, said that Sweden and Finland should not join NATO or the countries can count on military consequences.
She warned that an application to NATO from Sweden or Finland would result in a serious response from Moscow.
“If they were to make such a decision, it would have serious military and political consequences, which would require our country to respond with mutual measures,” Zakharova emphasized, according to several Russian news agencies.
Zakharova further emphasized that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sees the Swedish and Finnish governments’ commitment to a military non-aligned policy as an important factor in securing peace in northern Europe.
In response, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said, “I want to be extremely clear. It is Sweden that itself and independently decides on our security policy line.”
She believes that the increased Russian aggression can have the opposite effect, “Our security has been partly based on an opportunity to join. At this rate, we have no choice but to join.”
There is increasing support for NATO membership and the government has said no to a Swedish membership in the military alliance. The Prime Minister and Minister of Defense have pointed out that they do not want to change Sweden’s security policy line in a critical situation.
Sweden is concerned that Russia may attempt to invade Gotland, a strategically important Baltic Sea island. The U.S. officials have described the island as an unsinkable aircraft carrier. Gotland is about 300 kilometers north of Kaliningrad’s naval base and faces the three Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia to the east. As an estimated 100,000 Russian troops are deployed on the Ukrainian border and more are crossing over to Belarus, it is a possible that Putin will resort to military intervention in an attempt to deter what the Kremlin sees as NATO overreaching. Sweden has increased the military presence as the conflict began.
No immediatee threat
Speaking to media on 25th January, Defence Minister Hultqvist said that there was no immediate security threat from Russia.
On joining NATO, he said it was important that Sweden has stability in its basic security doctrine, ie freedom of alliance. Sweden is boosting its investment in increased military capability, at the same time it deepens cooperation with other countries.
“We believe that if we start changing the basic security policy doctrine, we will put strong pressure on Finland, which has a long border with Russia. The important thing now is to concentrate on the contingency adjustments that are necessary and also carry out exercises together with other countries,” he said.