By Niclas Rolander and Niklas Magnusson
Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — Prime Minister Stefan Loefven said Sweden will increase its military arsenal and step up border defenses after the navy found proof that Stockholm’s archipelago was infiltrated by a foreign submarine.
The violation of Swedish territory “is completely unacceptable,” Loefven said today at a press conference in the Swedish capital. The government is now revamping its security policy to ensure it can defend Sweden’s borders “with all means” available. Any powers seeking to test the country’s resolve will face “enormous risks,” he said.
“The government sees this information as very serious and at the same time it calls for action,” Loefven said. “Securing the nation’s borders is one of the most important tasks of any government. We demand that Swedish territory is respected.”
Sweden spent much of October hunting a vessel that local media said was a Russian submarine. Neither the government nor the army were able to confirm its nationality. European Leadership Network, a research group, on Nov. 10 listed the security breach as one of three incidents since March that carried a “high probability” of causing casualties or direct military conflict against a backdrop of Russian brinkmanship in the Nordic and Baltic regions.
Swedish Armed Forces Supreme Commander Sverker Goeransson said it has now been “fully confirmed that a foreign power violated Swedish territory underwater.” Based on sensor data, traces of a submarine on the sea floor, analysis of a photo taken by a private person and other sightings, the navy concluded that at least one smaller submarine entered Swedish waters.
Sweden’s efforts to track the submarine last month marked the country’s largest military mobilization since the Cold War, when it frequently conducted submarine hunts along its coast. In 1981, the Soviet submarine U-137 ran aground near the naval base of Karlskrona in southern Sweden, setting off a decade of submarine alarms until the Soviet Union’s collapse.
Since the submarine search began, both the Social Democrat- led government and the center-right opposition have introduced budget proposals that entail increased defense spending.
Copyright 2014 Bloomberg.