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Monday 18.12.2017 | Name days: Klinta, Kristaps, Kristofers, Krists

Foreign media: mysterious submarine causes cold shivers in Baltic region

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe appearance of the mysterious submarine near Stockholm has sent cold shivers down spines of counties of the Baltic Sea region, which have experienced numerous land, sea and air border violations from Russia’s side, according to foreign media.

Many foreign media have also cited Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics’ warning on Twitter, saying that the situation in Swedish territorial waters can impact the situation in the Baltic Sea region.

The British Daily Telegraph notes that Sweden has not seen a state of emergency this serious since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Although Sweden has not mentioned which county it suspects, and Moscow denies any involvement in the incident, Russia’s activity in the past several months allows authorities to look in Kremlin’s direction.

«What other country could it be? Russia wishes to assert itself and intimidate countries around it. It wants to achieve recognition that it is a great power in the 19th-century sense. It wants to flex its muscles to make the Western powers listen,» – said James Rogers, a lecturer in the Baltic Defence College, in his interview to Bloomberg.

AP notes the operation by Swedish warships, helicopters and land forces in the Stockholm archipelago brings back memories of Moscow’s ventures during the Cold War.

British The Guardian, which is described by influential Eastern European expert Edward Lucas as «USA hating, Snowden loving and Putin’s favourite», mentions in an editorial comment that the incident with the submarine proves that Sweden should consider joining NATO in order to secure its geopolitical interests.

At the same time, media outlets controlled by Kremlin have been flooded with publications in the best traditions of Soviet-era propaganda.

The Russian press offers multiple alternatives to what happened, including the possibility of the mysterious submarine being of Dutch origin.

The Russian press has also mentioned information that the mysterious submarine is a plot of the Swedish army to increase its military budget, which had declined notably over the past decade.

Financial Times has taken to analyse the security situation of Baltic States in its recent article.

«I think that [any Russian military action] will be on a much lower scale than in eastern Ukraine. But they might still try to spark another hotspot – within NATO territory this time,» – says Igor Sutyagin, a Russian military specialist at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, emphasizes that NATO has made all the right decisions by planning security measures to protect Baltic States.

«The right decisions were taken. [But] we are in a situation where we are expecting whatever. It is very difficult to predict what will happen. These events are a test mechanism of the reaction of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia but also international organisations such as the EU and NATO,» – he says.

«I am afraid that Putin will create an ethnic issue inside Estonia, and then play a game whereby the Estonians ask for NATO assistance. NATO will then begin a debate internally about whether this is really an Article 5 situation, and with a hissing sound all credibility will evaporate from the alliance,» – said Andrew Michta, adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

According to analysts, Russia could use the large proportion of Russian-speakers in Latvia and Estonia under the notion of ‘needing to protect countrymen’. In regard to Lithuania, Russia could employ some Kaliningrad-related military sabotage scenario.

A number of experts expect provocations to continue coming from Russia. It is also possible these provocations could pick up in strength.

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