The newspaper Svenska Dagbladet writes that during Easter weekend the Russian Air Force held manoeuvres in the Baltic Sea, just outside Sweden’s territorial boundary, but Sweden’s military was too slow to react and had to rely on the help from NATO aircraft stationed in Lithuania, the news portals the Radio Sweden and the Local had reported.
The paper wrote that even thought Russia had informed Sweden ahead of time about the exercise, none of the Swedish Gripen fighters were available to identify the Russian aircraft. Instead, NATO sent two Danish fighters stationed in Lithuania, that arrived too late to monitor the exercise.
Russian planes flew from Saint Petersburg after midnight on 29 March, 2013, and headed past the eastern edge of Stockholm’s archipelago.
According to the paper, usually, Russian jets continue such exercises by heading south towards Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave between Lithuania and Poland. Nevertheless, Russian fighters headed towards Sweden and flew over Gotska Sandön, an uninhabited Swedish island in the Baltic Sea.
The planes were training for military attacks, information which had been kept secret from the Swedish public until Monday’s report by SvD. According to SvD’s military sources, the planes were simulating attacks against Stockholm and somewhere in the south of Sweden.
“I can confirm that there were two bombers – Tu-22 with Su-27 fighter escorts. They remained in international airspace at Gotska Sandön and carried out some form of exercise. Then they turned back the way they had come,” Lieutenant-General Anders Silwer of the Armed Forces mission command told SvD.