Major military exercises are happening in Sweden, playing out all week, with the scenario of an attack from the east.
At the helicopter flotilla in Linköping Lasse Jansson says about 3,300 people are taking part. Mostly in the south of the country and on the Baltic island of Gotland.
The imaginary enemy is called simply “country X” and is attacking from the east. This year the Swedes will be working with neighbouring Finland on how to counter such a threat, and it will involve cooperation between air and sea defences.
At the air defence batallion in Småland Fredrik Zetterberg says it is no coincidence the exercise is about defending the east coast. He says the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, Sverker Göranson, has said recently that events in Ukraine show the situation in Europe can change very quickly, although there is no immediate threat to Sweden
But police are ready for trouble – or at least to take a few extra calls from alarmed people who see masked armed men running around Linköping”s military airport. These are just people playing the enemy force in this major military exercise.
The sea and air exercises will be finishing on the 20th and 22nd of may and the total cost is estimated to be SEK 16 million, reports Swedish public television and radio.
Related stories from around the Arctic:
Canada: Military exercises underway in Arctic Canada, CBC News
Finland: Finnish defence minister demands extra cash for military, Yle News
Sweden: Finland and Sweden tighten defence co-operation, Yle News
Russia: Russia’s Putin rattles military sabre over Canada’s claim to North Pole, The Canadian Press
United States: U.S. Military panel – Climate change policy impacts national, Alaska Public Radio Network