World Bulletin/News Desk
Swedish military officials say they have confirmed that a foreign submarine was illegally operating in Swedish territorial waters in the archipelago of Sweden’s capital Stockholm in October.
Sweden’s top military officer Sverker Göransson said on Friday the Swedish armed forces had proof that a small submarine violated Swedish territory.
Göransson said: ''Sweden has been exposed to a gross and intolerable violation by a foreign power."
''I would not say so if I was not completely confident in the conclusions.''
His comments referred to reported speculation which began in late October that a "Russian submarine" could be beneath Swedish territorial waters.
Military spending call
Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who also attended Friday’s press conference, said intrusion in Swedish waters was ''unacceptable’’.
Löfven said: ''Let me put this clearly to those responsible: this is completely unacceptable.
''We will strengthen our abilities to discover and identify those who are looking for illicit affairs in our waters, in Swedish territory."
Stefan Löfven has raised the prospect of taxpayers increasing military spending, which currently accounts for one percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product, a modest ratio of national income compared to its European neighbors.
Hundreds of military and naval staff were involved in a $2.75m week-long search for an underwater vessel after Swedish daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported a damaged or missing Russian submarine could have sent "encrypted signals" to Russia from a location in the area.
'Language of power'
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov later accused the Swedish government of hyping-up tensions in the Baltic Sea region.
He said: "Such unfounded actions of the Swedish Defense Department, fuelled by the Cold War-style rhetoric, are only leading today to escalation of tension in the region.
Critics have warned that a military build-up would not improve security in Sweden.
"If we respond with military means, then we will further shift the language of power in that direction, which would be incredibly unfortunate, both for our own safety and security in the Baltic Sea area," Anna Ek Chairman of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS) told the Swedish public broadcaster SVT on October 21.Last Mod: 03 Aralık 2014, 23:31