Sweden sends troops to Gotland as Russia increases activity in Baltic Sea

Sweden has sent hundreds of troops to reinforce a crucial island in the Baltic Sea as its defence minister warned that the Scandinavian country should not be naive and could be attacked.

An emergency contingency unit of Sweden’s armed forces landed on Gotland on Friday and Saturday by plane and passenger ferry, bringing troops and equipment to an island many have compared to an aircraft carrier in the middle of the Baltic Sea.

The deployment comes amid rising jitters in Nordic and Baltic countries about Russia’s intentions on its border with Ukraine, and how that could spill over to neighbouring countries. Swedish media noted at the weekend increased Russian naval activity in the Baltic Sea as troops were sent to Gotland.

“It is clear there is a risk. An attack against Sweden cannot be ruled out...It’s important to show we are not naive. Sweden will not be caught napping if something happens. It is important to send signals that we take this situation seriously,” defence minister Peter Hultqvist told radio station Ekot on Saturday.