6 facts about the mysterious hunt for the "Russian submarine"
“The Cold War has returned” - this is how the new episode was interpreted in the West, reflecting a high degree of European distrust of Russia. We are talking about a "foreign" submarine, which the Swedes have been searching in their territorial waters for several days now, with the involvement of aviation and divers. Why is Russia under suspicion and is there any reason to doubt it?
We have collected for you all the main facts and evidence.
1. What happened
From Friday, October 17, the Swedish military is conducting a “reconnaissance operation” to search for “foreign underwater activity” in its territorial waters. The media covers this as a “search for a Russian submarine,” although so far this is only at the level of suspicion and speculation.
In the search, which is conducted 50 km from Stockholm, more than 200 soldiers are involved - sailors, divers and pilots. A small and fast vessel, the patrol ship HMS Visby, was immediately sent to the area of operation.
Photos from the site:
2Why were alarmed
Swedish military showed a fuzzy photo of the mysterious "underwater vessel, surrounded by white ripples." The witness who took the picture said that the object then plunged into the water.
In all these days, strange objects were noticed three times, and the military asserted that the sources can be trusted. For example, a photo of a man in black with a knapsack or scuba on his back, who got out of the water on the coastal spit. The picture was published by a Swedish newspaper, after which the media began to argue about the possible presence of "Russian special forces" in the region.
3. What they say in Sweden
“It could be a submarine. It could be divers using some kind of underwater vehicle and who have no official affairs on our territory. ”- Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad said at a press conference.
According to him, the observations took place in "an area that is of interest to a foreign power," but added that he is not able to associate the incident with any particular country.
At the same time, he made it clear that foreign underwater activities are of a military nature - in any case, there are no indications that civilians are involved in it.
four.Why suspect Russia
1. Radio intercepts
The search began after intercepted radio broadcasts in Russian at the emergency frequency, Svenska Dagbladet reported, citing unnamed informed sources. According to the newspaper, the encrypted signals came from the territorial waters near Stockholm and from Kaliningrad, where the Russian Baltic Fleet is based.
At the same time, Grenstad noted that the Swedish armed forces did not receive any information about the distress signal.
2. General Tension
Also affected by the growing tensions between Russia and its northern and Baltic neighbors against the background of the Ukrainian crisis.
Finland a week earlier accused Russia of interfering with its warships in the activities of a Finnish research vessel in the international waters of the Baltic Sea. And in September, Sweden stated that two Russian military aircraft violated its airspace, and called it a "serious violation."
3. It was like before
In 1981, in the era of the Cold War, the Soviet submarine C-363 with nuclear weapons on board stranded near one of the largest naval bases in Sweden.The captain then declared that the submar had lost her course and was lost. Diplomatic confrontation lasted 11 days, but even after the submarine was allowed to return home, Sweden regularly searched for Soviet “spies” in its waters.
5. What could it be?
The bloggers recalled that at the end of August, diesel-electric power had entered the Russian Navy, which, before being sent to the home base on the Black Sea coast, should be on the deep-water ranges of the Northern Fleet. Perhaps it was she who was “lost” in Swedish waters, they suggested.
Another option - this is some kind of small submarine, which was looking for a large Russian ship. In particular, the Russian oil tanker Concorde, which was heading towards Russia, suddenly turned and headed back to Sweden, Anders Nordin of the Swedish Maritime Administration said. The tanker was zigzagging, as if looking for something.
In addition, the search vessel "Professor Logachev" was seen on the way from St. Petersburg towards Sweden; he was followed by three Dutch ships. On the evening of October 19, the Russian ship turned off its radio responder.
Here is a picture from the site, reflecting the route of “Professor Logachev”:
Military analysts quoted in the Swedish media suggest that the submarine could replace “old spy equipment” or follow Swedish naval exercises.
6. What they say in Russia
However, the Defense Ministry not only dismissed suspicions in his address, but also directly pointed out the possible culprit of the alarm.
“The submarines of the Russian Navy, as well as surface ships, perform tasks in the waters of the World Ocean in accordance with the plan. There were no abnormal and, especially, emergency situations with Russian warships. ”- declared the official representative of the military department on October 19.
And on October 20, a source in the Ministry of Defense advised the Swedes to seek clarification from the Netherlands Navy.
“The fact is that during the past week it was the Dutch diesel-electric submarine“ Brainvis ”that was working on practical tasks in the immediate vicinity of Stockholm. Including elements of an emergency ascent, the photographs of which hit the Swedish press ”, - he said .
“It remains to hope that this information will help the Swedish Navy to detect the submarine on the reverse transition in one of the naval bases in the Netherlands”He added.