Rayyan Sabet-Parry, The Baltic Times, RIGA Oct 20, 2014
Estonia has said it's on high alert amid several sighting of a Russian submarine in the Baltic Sea near the coast of Sweden.
It follows after Sweden said it was investigating 'foreign underwater activity' after several sightings of a potential Russian submarine in it's waters last Friday. Russia has denied the accusations.
"If we look at situation in the Baltic Sea region in the past year, it is clear, based on the existing knowledge and facts that the situation has changed," Estonia's foreign minister Urmas Paet told Estonian television.
"If we look at the increased number of air border violations, as well as shipping traffic in the Baltic Sea, how many more all kinds of warships sail there, such as the Russian warships in immediate proximity of other states' waters... (---) the situation has of course become more tense as compared to previous years," said the minister.
Latvia's foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics said the sighting was a 'game changer' for security issues in the region amid the crisis in the Ukraine.
"Closely following events in the Swedish territorial waters, may become a game changer of the security in the whole Baltic Sea region," he minister wrote on his Twitter account.
The deputy director of Estonia's border guard Priit Parkna said it was scouring he Baltic Sea for any possible future sightings of Russian ships, public broadcasting reports.
"At the moment we have not noticed anything of the kind. Obviously we have also ship capability there, that if there something, then we are ready to respond," said Parkna.
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven is in Riga tomorrow for high level talks with Latvian officials. The possible submarine sighting will be on the agenda, Latvian foreign ministry spokesman Karlis Eihenbaums told the Baltic Times.
Baltics on edge amid Russian submarine sighting near Sweden