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Sweden's submarine search heats up tension in Baltic region — Russian Defense Ministry

October 24, 2014, 8:17 UTC+3

Spokesman of Russia's Defense Ministry says Sweden's search for an unknown sub may result in undermining marine economic activity in the Baltic Sea region

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Sweden's military vessel during search

Sweden's military vessel during search

© AP Photo/TT News Agency/Pontus Lundahl

MOSCOW, October 24. /TASS/. The expansion of the zone of the search for “foreign submarine activity” by Sweden is heating up tension in the Baltic region, spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry Major General Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Friday.

On Thursday, the General Staff of the Swedish army said the operation to search for “foreign submarine activity” in the Stockholm archipelago water area continues. The operation details were not disclosed. Swedish media say it is the search for a Russian submarine.

“Such unjustified actions of the Swedish Defence Ministry, backed by cold war rhetoric today only exacerbate tension in the region. They may result not in the strengthening of a separate country’s security, but in undermining of the foundations of marine economic activity in the Baltic Sea region,” Konashenkov said.

He said the Russian Defense Ministry looks forward to seeing “the culmination of this breathtaking operation” in connection with the Swedish side’s speculations on the issue of spotting ‘a Russian submarine’ in the area of the Stockholm archipelago.

“It is obvious that its authors, guided by Napoleon’s well-known principle “first engage in a serious battle and then see what happens,” from the very start didn't see its finale, and therefore are trying to play for time as their fiasco is approaching,” he said.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, trying to buy time, the Swedish Defense Ministry officially announced the transition to the next phase of the ‘operation’ with the expansion of the search area ‘to the ground and air.’”

The Russian Defense Ministry says the actions of the Swedish military is a comedy drama and has no doubt that its culmination will not be as impressive as the beginning, as “the chances to find the Russian trace in this area are slim to none,” according to the Russian general.

Sweden cuts military ties with Russia amid unknown submarine search

The Swedish military launched the operation to search for “foreign submarine activity” in the Stockholm archipelago waters last Friday, October 17.

Local media reported that the search operation might be targeted against a Russian submarine. In particular, the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper wrote the submarine could be in distress. The Swedish General Staff has not confirmed the reports.

Meanwhile, the Swedish government on Thursday chose not to prolong the plan of mutual defense exchanges with Russia, referring to the Russian military actions in the Baltic region that are allegedly becoming increasingly provocative. “This means that the Swedish Armed Forces has suspended cooperation with Russia,” says the draft budget of Sweden’s new government that was made public on Thursday.

The Swedish government claims that “violation of the territorial integrity of the countries” of the region has taken place in the Baltic area and “such developments will continue,” although “a direct armed attack on Sweden is hardly probable.”

The Swedish draft budget highlights the need to boost the country’s defence capability. The defence budget of Sweden, according to the draft, will be increased in 2015 by 680 million kronas (75 million euro).

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