The Swedish Armed Forces on Wednesday denounced an incursion into its airspace by four Russian fighter jets, two Su-27 and two Su-24 fighters. The Swedish army said the incident took place over the waters of the Baltic Sea, east of the island of Gotland and about 300 kilometres from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
Swedish fighter jets photographed the Russian aircraft in what could be a violation of Swedish airspace. The head of the Swedish air force, Carl Johan Edstrom, has called this action "unprofessional and irresponsible on the part of Russia". He also praised the Swedish army's action, saying that the raid "shows that our preparation is good. We were in place to secure Sweden's territorial integrity and borders".
The incident raises alarm bells in the Nordic country after Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to take military action against Sweden and Finland if they join NATO. Although these countries are not members of the Atlantic Alliance, they are close partners of the group, a position that has prompted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to threaten that possible NATO membership would have "serious military and political consequences". The head of the Swedish air force has also spoken out about these threats, saying that they are very concerned about the incident.
In addition, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that "Finland and Sweden should not base their own security on harming the security of other countries".
Sweden announced on Sunday that it was sending military aid to Ukraine, including more than 5,000 anti-tank weapons in what is Sweden's first arms shipment to a country at war since 1939. Sweden and Finland's determination on the Ukrainian conflict, condemning the invasion of Russian troops and sending military aid to Ukraine, has added yet another reason for the Nordic nations to distance themselves from Russia. So much so that Sweden considers the incursion to be a signal from Russia in response to the measures taken in response to its siding with Ukraine.
According to local media reports, Edstrom calls the violation "a deliberate act" by the Russians, describing it as a "serious incident that they take seriously" in the current circumstances.
For the moment, the Swedish response does not appear to add another front for Russia in its military escalation. Tensions between Sweden and Russia have been at their highest since the invasion of Ukraine and the armies of countries in the region remain on alert. While the invasion and attacks on major Ukrainian cities continue, new negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are also expected to take place in the Belarusian region of Brest.