Russian jets were intercepted by NATO in the general area of Sweden's "Russian submarine" hunt. Although Russia officially denies the unknown foreign vessel belongs to them, the Swedish military says they are preparing to force the sub to the surface.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, photos of the alleged Russian submarine were released by the Swedish military, but Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad said Sweden was not in the position to claim the unknown vessel was Russian submarine. The Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter published another photo that may have depicted a Russian spy that was picked up by the submarine. The Swedish military is on the hunt for the man in black but otherwise have not confirmed or denied the belief that they are looking for a Russian spy.
Even though Swedish officials have not wanted to depict the unknown vessel as a Russian submarine, former Swedish marine attache to Moscow Christian Allerman believes that a Russian submarine is the most likely suspect.
"The only nation with a motive is the one that doesn't want us to continue developing our cooperation with NATO," said Allerman. "They're searching either for divers or diving vessels… small submarines or possibly a conventional submarine in the 60 to 70-metre class. The latter is less likely."A Russian defense ministry official tried blaming the incident on the Netherlands by claiming that the vessel could be the Dutch Bruinvis, saying, "To remove tensions in the waters of the Baltic Sea and to save money of the Swedish taxpayers we would recommend (Sweden) to turn to the naval command of the Netherlands for an explanation." But Dutch defence ministry spokeswoman Marnoes Visser denied their submarine could the vessel currently being hunted in the Baltic.
"We participated in an exercise with Sweden with several ships, but it ended last week Thursday," said Visser according to The Local. "The Bruinvis then departed for Estonia, where it has been at anchor in the Tallinn harbour over the weekend. "The Dutch submarine is not involved and we are further not involved in any search action or such."
Russia is also extremely interested in getting to the bottom of the mystery, since a a Russian research vessel, The Professor Logachev, "turned off its transponder and engaged in what appeared to be a search pattern in the Baltic Sea just east of Stockholm and the area where" the alleged Russian submarine was last sighted. On Tuesday, Russian jets were intercepted by NATO forces when they attempted to enter the Baltic Sea.
According to CTV News, the Latvian National Armed Forces says that NATO F-16 jets were "scrambled to intercept Russian jets in the area, including a Russian Ilyushin-20 surveillance aircraft. The alleged sightings of these Russian jets have been made at least twice over the last two days. NATO has not confirmed reports of Russian jets except to confirm that Russian jets have not violated the airspace of any NATO member countries.
Despite the potential incursion by Russian jets, Sweden announced that they are ready to use armed force to bring the alleged Russian submarine to the surface.
"The most important value of the operation - regardless of whether we find something -- is to send a very clear signal that Sweden and its armed forces are acting and are ready to act when we think this kind of activity is violating our borders," Supreme Commander General Sverker Göranson said according to The Local. "Our aim now is to force whatever it is up to the surface... with armed force, if necessary."
Unfortunately, when Sweden hunted Russian submarines during the first Cold War they were never successful in capturing a sub, except in 1981 when the Russian U137 ran aground near one of Sweden's military bases. Göranson admits that Sweden will find it "extremely difficult" to track the unknown vessel down, but they also confirmed that there have more than 100 confirmed sightings of the foreign submarine.