posted at 23:50
Author Name: Tom Sullivan
Swedish military releases photo of mysterious foreign vessel
Ever since the armed forces received a tip-off about a "Man-made object" off the coast of Stockholm Friday, 200 men, several stealth ships, minesweepers and helicopters have been searching the sea around islands about 50 kilometres east of the Swedish capital. He rejected media speculation that the armed forces were "Submarine hunting" and stressed that the mobilisation - one of the biggest, barring purely training exercises, since the Cold War - was an intelligence operation. "This is not a submarine hunt, using weapons to combat an opponent. It's about collecting intelligence to establish that there is foreign underwater activity," said Grenstad, adding that an area east of the Swedish capital appeared "To be of interest to a foreign power." He dismissed a report from the respected daily Svenska Dagbladet on Saturday suggesting that a Russian emergency transmission had been intercepted, indicating that a Russian U-boat was in trouble in the area. "We've not singled out Russia, but said it is foreign underwater activity... It can be a U-boat, a mini U-boat or divers in a moped-like underwater vehicle." In recent months, Sweden has seen an uptick in Baltic Sea manoeuvres by the Russian air force, which has fuelled speculation that Russia's military is now making a show of force against a new, more aggressive, incursion from across the Baltic Sea. In one of two airspace violations in September, two SU-24 fighter-bombers allegedly entered Swedish airspace in what Foreign Minister Carl Bildt at the time called "The most serious aerial incursion by the Russians" in almost a decade. During the 1980s and early 90s 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 U-boat, the U137, ran aground several miles from one of Sweden's largest naval base.

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