Mystery deepened on Sunday over a Swedish military operation triggered by “foreign underwater activity” off the coast of Stockholm, amid an unconfirmed report of a hunt for a damaged Russian submarine.
“We have begun an intelligence operation … involving ships, helicopters and several ground units,” Commander Jonas Wikstroem told reporters, adding that the operation was based on a tip-off from a “credible source.”
Wikstroem did not specify how close the operation was to the Swedish capital but said that the military was informing the public as the area is “heavily trafficked.”
In recent months, Swedish media have reported an uptick in Baltic Sea maneuvers by the Russian air force, including a close encounter between a Swedish spy plane in international airspace off Russia’s Baltic Sea coast.
“As the government has said, the situation has deteriorated in the Baltic Sea,” Wikstroem said, adding that no weapons had been used in the current operation.
During the Cold War, the then-neutral — and now non-aligned — Nordic country was regularly on alert following Russian submarine sightings, including one notable case in 1981 when a Soviet sub ran aground several miles from a large naval base.