Sweden’s military confirmed that a citizen spotted an unknown submarine off the coast of Stockholm on October 31. The government did not confirm the submarine’s nationality, but authorities believe it belonged to Russia.
“We were informed of a sighting and considered it trustworthy—we had a unit in the area and sent it to investigate,” said military spokesman Philip Simon. “We received a photograph but do not plan to release it.”
The incident occurred two weeks after Swedish officials investigated the presence of another submarine near Stockholm. The military launched the HMS Malmö between Lidingö and Nacka, which is two miles from Stockholm’s city center.
“It look like a black submarine conning tower,” a source told Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter. “You can also see several over vessels which normally travel along the shipping channel, such as the Finland ferries. You don’t go this far in towards Stockholm for the fun of it. This information points to a serious intrusion towards central Stockholm.”
Simon said the military did not find the submarine.
“The information in Dagens Nyheter is correct,” he claimed. “This event is classified as a possible submarine. That we opted to investigate further reflects both the credibility of the person who made the sighting and the fact that we had both vessels and ground forces in the vicinity, which meant we could rapidly reach the site. Despite that, we got no result.”
In November, the military released pictures of a sonar scan that showed “sub-sea tracks left behind by a mini-submarine.” Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told the media the submarine forced him to search for a new security plan.
“I think that there is a new security situation in the Baltic Sea… so we have a new environment and we have to handle that,” he said.
The Svenska Dagbladet newspaper “reported that encrypted radio traffic was intercepted from a transmitter in Kanholmsfjärden, an inlet in Stockholm’s archipelago. The receiver was in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.” The information gives weight to the Swedes’ belief the submarine belonged to Russia, but the military refused to confirm or deny the suspicions.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies agency released a poll that said “Swedish concern about Russia has risen sharply following the sightings, with 73 percent of Swedes expressing worries about developments in 2014, up from 45 percent in 2013.” The poll also showed that 48 percent of Swedes favored to join NATO, which is the first time the pro-NATO crowd outnumbered the opposition.