NewsSweden bolsters NATO's Baltic presence, warns of Russian threat

Sweden bolsters NATO's Baltic presence, warns of Russian threat

Sweden bolsters NATO's Baltic presence, warns of Russian threat
Images source: © | Sergey Konovalov
12:02 PM EDT, April 2, 2024
The head of the operational department of the 1st Swedish Submarine Flotilla, Commander Erik Ahlqvist, informed PAP that Russia possesses modern submarine technology and advanced systems. He emphasized that despite NATO's superiority in the Baltic region, vigilance among allies is imperative.

With Sweden joining NATO, nine out of the ninety countries with direct access to the Baltic Sea are now part of the Alliance. Ahlqvist pointed out that “allies cannot afford to lose vigilance. As the tenth country with Baltic access, Russia continues to be a significant threat.”

He acknowledged that the Russians display "relative caution" in Baltic Sea activities. However, he highlighted the regularity of the Russian navy's exercises, including those involving submarines.

"The Russians are well-prepared. They have modern technology and sophisticated systems. Thus, as members of NATO, we must also continually evolve and keep a close watch on their activities," Ahlqvist stated, noting Russia's proficiency and substantial personnel.

Sweden warns against Russia

"The primary mission of the Alliance in the Baltic is to assert its presence continuously and, in line with NATO doctrine, deter any provocations. We aim not to escalate tensions but to monitor Russian activities and be ready to respond," Ahlqvist explained.

The Baltic Sea, known for its shallow depths and challenging navigation, also harbors over 50,000 unexploded ordnances and sea mines from World War II. Ahlqvist underscored the importance of knowing their exact locations during exercises or operations due to their potential dangers.

He also mentioned the sea's salinity's impact on submarines' detectability, highlighting Sweden's significant contribution to NATO: extensive knowledge of the Baltic Sea.

"With 500 years of experience navigating in the Baltic, the Swedish navy possesses comprehensive knowledge of these waters, modern technology, submarines, corvettes, and expertise in coastal zone operations," Ahlqvist proudly stated.

"One for all, all for one"

"Now, surrounding the Baltic, we have allies we can rely on. In times of need, they will assist us, and we will do the same - one for all and all for one," Ahlqvist emphasized.
Sweden's addition to NATO includes a military force of 25,000 personnel (including civilians), 100 Gripen fighter jets, a navy skilled in operations in the shallow waters and straits around the archipelago skerries, and a 30-year history of cooperation and participation in NATO exercises and international missions. Additionally, Sweden, home to the Saab Group, is a notable producer of military equipment.
For the Swedish military, joining NATO entails deploying 250 officers to the Alliance's headquarters, adopting English as the lingua franca among Scandinavian troops, and, for some conscripts, stationing in the Baltic countries.
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