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Posts : 18434
Join date : 2015-05-20
Location : United States

Russian jets spotted off Sweden's east coast

on Mon Aug 31, 2015 11:34 am
Swedish military identified and followed two Russian TU-22 fighter planes escorted by a pair of SU-27 aircraft flying east of the island of Gotland on Monday morning.

The Russian planes flew above southern parts of the Baltic Sea and east of Gotland.

A military spokesman told The Local that the planes had stayed in international airspace and that the Swedish air force had followed them only to inspect them more closely.

“We are up there looking at things that are going on in our surroundings. It was not a violation of our airspace but we thought the planes looked like they could be of interest to us,” said press secretary Jesper Tengroth of the Swedish Armed Forces.

He confirmed that other countries also observed the Russian planes, but would not specify their nationalities and declined to comment further.

Several Swedish Jas Gripen jets are currently involved in an annual military exercise taking place across Sweden until Tuesday. The exercise is designed to “train the air force's ability to defend Sweden in a high-conflict scenario”.

Just hours before Monday's incident, Sweden's Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist called for strengthened military cooperation with the United States amid concerns of Russia stepping up its presence in the Baltic region.

“We are now seeing that Russia's military activity in the area is increasing, both in terms of scope and content. It is about controlling and boosting units' deployability. The Russian exercises are being carried out across Russia including in the Arctic and Kaliningrad,” he wrote in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

The past year has been one of heightened tensions between Sweden and its eastern neighbour, riddled with spy allegations, submarine hunts and claims Russia rehearsed a military invasion of Gotland, strategically located in the middle of the Baltic Sea, back in March...............

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