Swedish authorities remain mum on whether a submarine they are chasing off the coast of Stockholm, in one of the biggest such mobilizations since the Cold War, belongs to Russia.
Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad said the search is expected to continue for what is believed to be a small submarine or diver-operated submersible. Radio Sweden reports that Grenstad refused to single out Russia as responsible during a news conference on 19 October, saying only, “We are speaking of foreign underwater activity.”
The daily Svenska Dagbladet reported on 18 October that the hunt was set off by an emergency signal from a damaged Russian submarine, according to the Swedish Radio report. The newspaper says Swedish intelligence monitors first picked up a signal on 16 October, on a Russian emergency channel, and a foreign vessel was later spotted in Kanholmsfjarden, a sea lane in the archipelago east of Stockholm. The Swedish search in the area followed.
The Russian military has said there were no emergencies in the Baltic Sea involving its vessels, Reuters reports.
Baltic states – including the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – have reported increasing incursions by Russian aircraft and vessels into their territorial waters since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula earlier this year.
In September, operatives of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) abducted Estonian security agent Nikolai Polozov. The Russians say he was on their side of the border, but Estonian officials say he was taken from inside Estonia. He is accused of espionage and is being held at the Lefortovo prison in Moscow.
In a related development, a former head of Russia’s security service says the United States has dusted off a 1970s plan to destabilize the Soviet Union to foment current tensions over Ukraine and the Caucasus.
Nikolai Patrushev, the FSB chief from 1999 until 2008, told the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta that the U.S. government is executing a plan based on Zbigniew Brzezinski’s strategy exploiting the opponent’s potential problems, Russia’s RT news has reported. Brzezinski was the national security adviser under U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The U.S. plan includes efforts to foment regional conflicts and disrupt oil prices, striking at the heart of Russia’s petroleum sales, RT reports.
Search in Baltic a throwback to Cold War tensions