A Russian submarine has reportedly traveled to within a stone’s throw to Stockholm, prompting an aggressive response from Sweden, including a mobilization of troops and ships.
It had been reported late this week that “foreign underwater activity” was taking place in the Stockholm archipelago, but the activity was not confirmed, and it was not officially linked to Russia. But reports later on Saturday seemed to confirm that it was Russia.
Sources say that more than 200 Swedish military personnel have been involved in the search for the sub. The search started when National Defense Radio Establishment reportedly detected radio communication in Russian, and the search narrowed the next day.
“Friday night signal intelligence once again intercepted radio communication,” the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported. “This time it was encrypted but it was possible to determine the position of the transmitter and the receiver. The transmitter was situated somewhere in Kanholmsfjärden in the archipelago of Stockholm, and the receiver was situated in Kaliningrad, Russia.”
The operation comes as tensions between Nordic and Baltic states have grown following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its nuclear maneuvering. Earlier this month, Russia moved more than 100 nuclear warheads into northern waters, and Barents Observer noted that most were headed to two Northern fleet submarines.
“Those two alone can hold 192 warheads, but since the increase, according to the official figures, is 131 since last information exchange in March, the two submarines are likely not fully loaded,” the report noted.
Many believed the nuclear weapon build up was a sign of aggression from Russia.
“There is no doubt that the long-lasting period of disarmament now has changed to rearmament,” said Kristian Åtland, Senior Research Fellow with the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment.
Last week, Finland also accused Russia of interfering with an environmental research vessel inside of international waters.
Sweden has also claimed that two Russian warplanes entered its airspace, sending a protest to Moscow about what it termed a “serious violation.” The Swedish government has not released an official statement about the Russian submarine near Stockholm.